The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has delivered to the Indonesian National Research Innovation Agency (BRIN) the final report of a peer review of its programme for decommissioning and storage of radioactive waste and used fuel. This followed several virtual review meetings and a 10-day mission to Indonesia in October 2022.

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

The peer review team comprised five international experts from Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, South Korea, and the USA as well as five staff members from the IAEA Departments of Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Safety & Security. In addition, the IAEA Department of Technical Cooperation provided comprehensive administrative support in organising the mission.

The team reviewed technical documentation, visited the research reactors, used 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 IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy Mikhail Chudakov, during an online ceremony marking the report’s delivery. The team identified a number of good practices, including:

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 so that they can be utilised 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 also provided several recommendations and suggestions to further enhance organisational aspects, safety documentation and technical aspects, including:

BRIN should develop holistic and integrated decommissioning plans, including costing, covering all facilities at the three reactor sites. This will allow BRIN to optimise its activities and ensure that adequate resources are in place as needed.

BRIN should develop the competence and technical capacity in radiological and hazardous characterisation in terms of equipment, personnel, techniques, and methods to support ongoing operations and future decommissioning needs.

Radiological characterisation is a key enabler to facilitate safe and sustainable decommissioning and downstream waste management to minimise 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 organisations, such as manufacturers and designers.

“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.”

Image: Con Lyras from the Australian Nuclear Science & Technology Organisation (ANSTO), who led the peer review, and Christianus Ratrias Dewanto, BRIN Executive Inspector, display the draft report (courtesy of IAEA)

Date: Thursday, 12 January 2023
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