4 April 2017 – The students of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Engineering of IULI (semester 2) visited BATAN’s (Badan Tenaga Nuklir Nasional) multi-purpose reactor, which can generate up to 30 MW of electricity. The reactor, whose facility covers an area of about 25 Ha, is located at Puspiptek, Banten. The purpose of the visit was to help the students gain a further understanding of the way nuclear reactors are operated and, personally, the idea of actually witnessing a nuclear reactor in action intrigues me immensely. Nuclear reactors are an alternative to the obvious harm to the environment caused by the fossil fuels that are burnt to generate the electricity.
Sahil, a IULI student noted that “Curious and extremely interested, we set off on a 20 minute drive to the reactor facility from IULI and were taken aback at the greenery that surrounded us once we reached it. We were then led to a meeting room where we were given a very warm welcome by the BATAN staff. It was also here that we were briefed about the security protocols in place and also given a little history of the organization. Needless to say, the protocols followed, especially concerning security, are well organized, thorough and strictly followed by everyone in BATAN, which included us.” After the pleasantries, the students were led to the main reactor building, where, again, we’re briefed about the different uses of nuclear power being implemented in the reactor. The long-awaited moment for the students came right after this, as, finally, we’re led to the reactor itself. For various security reasons, the reactor chamber was at a lower pressure than the regular chambers, and the multiple thick doors and screenings really show the seriousness in carrying out every safety procedure to prevent any unwanted incidents taking place. Inside, the students saw the site where the Uranium’s great energy was used, the control rods controlling the rate of experiments, and many others. The inside of the chamber was just like something they would normally see in movies, with cutting edge technology and huge machinery, controlling a great source of power and channeling it with the outmost care to where it was needed.
After all that, the students went through one final screen to look for radioactive contaminants that may be present, and took off the safety coats and shoe covers that all of students have been wearing throughout their visit. It was truly a day to remember for students. They learnt a great deal about nuclear energy and reactors, met the people actually operating the facility and, quite simply, had a fantastic time. Hopefully, more IULI students will the get the opportunity to visit BATAN and learn more about this potential future source of energy of Indonesia, and an increasing number of countries around the world.