PLTN Muria, and nuclear energy in general, is haram for some.
Dozens of Muslim leaders from Jepara, Central Java branch of Nahdlatul Ulama gathered together on 1st and 2nd September and issued a fatwa declaring that nuclear energy is haram, or forbidden, because it is likely to cause more harm than good.
The government, for the past few years, has been planning to build several nuclear power plants, at least one of them in the Jepara district, at Mt. Muria (PLTN Muria). Under the government's plan, the project at Mt. Muria will be tendered in 2008, with construction beginning in 2010, and the plant coming online in 2016, providing about 2% of the nation's burgeoning energy needs, or 4,000 megawatts, says the Jakarta Post.
PLTN Muria Location.
The clerics' spokesman, Kholilurohman, said:
After considering all the arguments from the experts, in favour and against, this forum has decided that the development of the Muria power plant is haram.
The clerics worried most of all about the ability of the future plant operator to ensure the safety of the PLTN Muria, especially the handling of radioactive waste.
State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman was present to give the government's side of the story at the meeting, which was also attended by about 1,000 people from Balong village, Kembang district, Jepara. Balong village is the designated site for the nuclear plant.
The discussions between Kusmayanto and the villagers and clerics became heated after the villagers demanded that the minister sign a statement cancelling the project. The minister refused and had to be escorted to safety by security officers.
Not Haram Yet
Meanwhile the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) plans to call the leaders of the Jepara Nahdlatul Ulama to account for their "rash" fatwa.
Ma'ruf Amin of MUI says fatwas have to be based on careful study and sound, established legal arguments.
What is the legal basis of their judgement? If they are just making it up as they go along, then they can't do that.