Indonesia plans to build the first nuclear power plant (NPP) to solve the country’s energy problems. One of the challenges that must be handled before establishing the first NPP is the presence of anti-nuclear groups that have successfully made the government postpone its plan several times since the first nuclear research reactor was established in Bandung (1972). The basis for the groups’ dissent is the presence, and handling of radioactive waste. Further, the general public perception — even among educated Indonesians — is that Indonesia’s experts lack knowledge about nuclear technology, even though nuclear technology has been studied in Indonesia since 1954.

So, the problem is one of disseminating information about nuclear technology. To address this challenge, the National Atomic Energy Board (BATAN) of Indonesia has to redesign its public outreach strategy by collaborating with the educational institutions and communications organizations. Gadjah Mada University is the only university in Indonesia offering a nuclear-engineering curriculum. Therefore, a teaming arrangement with this institution seems appropriate to help improve the public’s general knowledge about nuclear technology. There are several strategies that could be designed within the frame work of collaboration. The first strategy is to introduce nuclear technology into Indonesia’s elementary and secondary schools. These youngsters are still in their formative years and are absorbing science and technology with great attention. The cooperation with the local government where the NPP is located also has to be established for improving the knowledge of community. To build a better understanding with educated people, the Indonesian nuclear experts should increase its attendance at several national scientific meetings, so that they can explain ways to safely handle radioactive waste. The advantages of the nuclear option, safety and its ecological aspects of the technology should be comprehensively presented. Under the cooperation, some experts must also be encouraged to author nuclear-related books that would be sold at several nationwide book stores. Further, nuclear technology should be promoted in a way that shows how it fulfills the needs of daily living. The presence of a Demonstration Power Plant is also very important to show the capability of Indonesian resources in handling a NPP. The authors believe that proactively improving the community’s knowledge about nuclear technology and demonstrating how nuclear technology is a part of daily life are key success factor to opening a public dialogue on the first NPP in Indonesia.

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