SERPONG – The center for radioactive waste technology (PTLR) of Indonesia’s national nuclear energy agency (BATAN) has been dealing with the nation’s radioactive waste since 1988. In the management process, the body always considers the principal of 3S, which refers to safety, security and safeguard.
“It has been Indonesia’s commitment to ensuring the safety and security of radioactive waste management. We don’t want radioactive waste to vanish and be misused,” said PTLR head Husen Zamroni during a media briefing in Serpong, May 2, 2019.
Husen said his agency’s focus was to manage volume reduction of the waste to be as tiny as possible. Some of the waste are reusable or recyclable.
For example, radioactive waste from radiotherapy – a cancer treatment method – can be processed for calibration activity at BATAN’s center for radiation safety and metrology technology (PTKMR). This also can reduce the cost to purchase radioactive sources.
Radioactive waste can also be reused for academic purposes.
“Five millicuries of radioactive source used by BATAN’s center for education and training could cost us Rp 200 million. But we could only spend Rp 20 million if we used radioactive waste,” said Husen.
Recycling and reusing radioactive waste could also reduce the amount of it in Indonesia.
The waste is sourced from BATAN’s research projects, industry and medical activities at hospitals. It then will be processed through evaporation, incineration, compaction and immobilization.
E-LIRA is an online-based application that helps radioactive waste management. Transporting the waste is only allowed under permits from BATAN.
Thanks to BATAN’s own experience, many countries are learning from Indonesia to manage radioactive waste. These nations include Myanmar, Cambodia, Palestine, Mongolia and Libya.