Indonesia has, so far, prioritized the use of nuclear technology for industry; micro, small, and medium enterprises; and in agriculture, among others, through the construction of gamma irradiation facilities to help export fruits, herbal ingredients, and fishery products.
Hence, international cooperation in the field of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes should continue to be encouraged through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Speaking at the Ministerial-Level Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology, organized by IAEA in Vienna on Wednesday, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Culture Puan Maharani highlighted the importance of inter-state nuclear cooperation for the use of nuclear science and technology that can bring tangible benefits to development.
On the occasion, Maharani explained that Indonesia was among the developing countries to have benefited notably from IAEA programs in the use of nuclear science and technology.
The people of Indonesia have borne witness to the use of nuclear science and technology in the form of superior plant seed production, improved livestock quality, national cancer control programs, and air pollution monitoring, among other things.
In addition, nuclear technology is used in the handling of earthquakes and tsunami that recently hit Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, and Palu in Central Sulawesi.
During that time, the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN) had distributed food items that had been irradiated to increase their shelf life and make them safe for consumption for disaster victims.
Apart from being a beneficiary, Indonesia also contributes to the use of nuclear technology by other developing countries. The abilities of Indonesian experts in the nuclear field are recognized by the IAEA, so they are often approached to offer training to experts from other countries.
The cooperation framework used by Indonesia to assist other countries is through the Peaceful Uses Initiatives (PUI), Regional Capacity Building Initiative (RCBI), and South-South Cooperation (SSC).
Given the enormous benefits of nuclear technology in the field of development, Indonesia insists that the use of such technology by a country should not be limited by the preconditions that make it difficult to access its use.
The Indonesian coordinating minister for human development and culture underlined that the rights of IAEA member countries to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and access to assistance provided by the IAEA must be guaranteed and must not be limited by any prerequisites.
Maharani noted that information on the benefits of nuclear science and technology should be disseminated to wider stakeholders to clear some people`s misperception that nuclear weapons are identical to terrible weapons of mass destruction.
On the sidelines of the Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology, Maharani held a bilateral meeting with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano.
Both agreed on increasing Indonesia`s cooperation with the IAEA in the field of utilizing nuclear technology for peaceful and development purposes.
During the bilateral meeting, Maharani said Indonesia was keen to enhance cooperation with the IAEA through providing support for technical cooperation projects.
Such cooperation is not only aimed at catering to Indonesian interests but also providing benefits to other developing countries in Asia and Africa.
In the meantime, the director general of the IAEA recognized Indonesia`s role so far in the field of utilizing nuclear science and technology for peaceful purposes.
Since Indonesia is viewed as being capable and having the required capacity in this field, the director general of the IAEA specifically expressed hope that the country would play a greater role in the field of nuclear technology.
In May 2017, Indonesian Minister for Research, Technology, and Higher Education Mohamad Nasir had also participated in the International Conference on the IAEA Technical Cooperation Program: Sixty Years and Beyond in Vienna.
During the conference at the time, Nasir presented various national achievements in the utilization of nuclear technology and energy for peaceful purposes to improve the people`s welfare.
The Indonesian minister also highlighted the importance of IAEA member states providing support and enhancing contributions to the IAEAs Technical Cooperation (TC) program.
The objective of the TC program is to promote a tangible socio-economic impact in areas where the peaceful application of nuclear technology holds a comparative advantage, including in human health, food and agriculture, water and the environment, industrial applications and energy.
Indonesia is promoting a sustainable technical cooperation strategy developed by the IAEA to apply nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
Moreover, the country supports efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The minister asserted at the time that Indonesia was entirely capable of providing technical assistance to other IAEA members.
Such assistance can be in the form of training and fellowship programs in agriculture, especially in the areas of mutation breeding, irradiation of food for preservation for disaster areas, and industrial applications.