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IAEA Delivers Final Peer Review Report to Indonesia on Decommissioning and Radioactive Waste Management


Con Lyras of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), who led the peer review, and Christianus Ratrias Dewanto, BRIN Executive Inspector, displaying the draft report in Jakarta in October 2022. (Photo: IAEA)

The IAEA has delivered the final report of a peer review of Indonesia’s programme for decommissioning and storage of radioactive waste and spent fuel. The report, based on the outcomes of virtual review meetings and a 10-day mission to Indonesia in October this year, was delivered this week to the Indonesian National Research Innovation Agency (BRIN).

BRIN invited the IAEA to review three Indonesian research reactor sites – in Serpong, Bandung and Yogyakarta – and facilities covering all aspects of the country’s programme for decommissioning and storage of radioactive waste and spent fuel. The review aimed to provide an independent assessment of BRIN’s activities related to the preparation of the research reactors for decommissioning, long-term storage of radioactive waste and storage of spent fuel longer than initially designed.

The IAEA peer review team comprised five international experts from Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, South Korea, and the United States of America, as well as five IAEA staff members from the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy and Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. The IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation provided comprehensive administrative support in organizing the mission to Indonesia.

The mission team reviewed technical documentation, visited the research reactors, spent fuel pools and waste management facilities, and held discussions with personnel operating the facilities. Talks were also held with BRIN management on the main findings and outcomes of the mission. The team noted that BRIN demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement of nuclear and radiation safety and facility management.

“Indonesia is an example of an IAEA Member State with multiple research facilities in place and an intention to develop a nuclear power programme in the future,” said Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, during an online ceremony marking the report’s delivery on 19 December. “Upon BRIN’s request, the review team addressed decommissioning, radioactive waste and spent fuel management while also considering recent issues and the overall status of the three research reactors and related facilities.”

The team identified a number of good practices, including that:

  • Proper attention has been given to engagement with external stakeholders and development of training programmes for universities in Indonesia on nuclear-related subjects.
  • Records of modifications and upgrades of systems and components including procedures at the Bandung facility have been preserved in a way that they can be utilized during final decommissioning of the facility.
  • BRIN staff members, including the relatively young workforce, displayed a good level of knowledge and expertise as well as enthusiasm and dedication to their work.

The team provided several recommendations and suggestions to further enhance organizational aspects, safety documentation and technical aspects of the facilities related to the preparation for decommissioning and waste and spent fuel management, including that:

  • BRIN should develop holistic and integrated decommissioning plans, including costing, covering all facilities at the three reactor sites. This will allow BRIN to optimize its activities and ensure that adequate resources are in place as needed.
  • BRIN should develop the competence and technical capacity in radiological and hazardous characterization in terms of equipment, personnel, techniques, and methods to support ongoing operations and future decommissioning needs. Radiological characterization is a key enabler to facilitate safe and sustainable decommissioning and downstream waste management to minimize the volume of radioactive waste requiring disposal.
  • Management at the three research reactor facilities, as well as the Radioactive Waste Treatment Installation, should develop and submit to the regulatory body common procedures for the clearance and recycling of the decommissioned equipment.
  • An operating experience feedback programme should be developed for research reactors, along with the establishment of a liaison process with the support organizations, such as manufacturers, designers and so forth.

“We are very pleased that Indonesian nuclear facilities were reviewed by the IAEA from the back-end perspective,” said BRIN Chairman Laksana Tri Handoko. “While we will focus on future nuclear infrastructure development, the outcomes of the IAEA Peer Review will be considered among other aspects with the aim to support national nuclear research, technical and human resources capacity building as well as to enhance international cooperation.”

The review acknowledged BRIN’s efforts, support and professionalism during the preparation and conduct of the mission to Indonesia, stating that BRIN demonstrated transparency and responsiveness to all questions, at all levels of the organization, allowing the IAEA team to conduct the review in an efficient and effective manner.

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