Gov. Dunleavy signs bill streamlining effort to bring nuclear microreactors to Alaska villages
- May 25, 2022 3:03 pm GMT
Senate Bill 177, introduced by the governor early this year and passed by the
A requirement for legislative approval of a microreactor's location would be eliminated. Also gone would be a requirement for continuous studies of a project by state regulatory agencies.
Nuclear microreactors have long been considered a potential alternative for
But the microreactors are largely in the research phase, and the use of nuclear power has also long been controversial due to concerns about safety and waste.
Any installation of a microreactor would not happen for several years, the governor's office said.
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The bill signing took place at the governor's three-day
The microreactors would use a tiny sliver of the power used in nuclear power plants to provide energy to a village, and would not be hot enough to cause a meltdown, officials with microreactor companies at the conference said.
They could be shipped to
Officials with those companies said they've been meeting in recent years with
The event, held at the Dena'ina
"We bring the unit with the fuel in it, and we take the reactor away with the fuel in it," Valore said. "There is no radiated material handling required in any remote area of
"We designed this to be almost a drop-in type replacement for diesel generation," Valore said.
Woollen said the microreactors use safe designs and technology. Temperatures in the reactor would not be hot enough to cause a meltdown, and the amount of waste the company would remove every 20 years would be about the size of a refrigerator.
"It simply can't melt down," she said.
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The microreactor technology drew criticism from a local conservation group at the conference.
"I want to see clear plans for how they will deal with their waste so they don't leave villages high and dry with spent uranium in the middle of their town," Jackson said.
Jackson helped organize a rally with the Alaska Center, another conservation group, outside the conference on Tuesday evening.
"We are not protesting the conference, but we are providing a counter-narrative that natural gas and nuclear energy aren't part of a sustainable energy solution," Jackson said.
He told a reporter that he doesn't think microreactor technology will be ready for
He said it's reasonable to test it at a military base, where it can be installed far away from people, and where lots of safety equipment is on hand in case there's a problem.
"It's probably attractive for rural
(c)2022 the Alaska Dispatch News (Anchorage, Alaska)
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