Amateur Hour For Nuclear Power? Alaska Landowner Proposes Residential Mini-Reactor


Fairbanks NorthStar Borough CWPP Area Overview. Image via Alaska Dept of Natural Resources, Map 3.

An Alaskan land owner has floated a proposal to develop a small parcel he owns near Fairbanks with a mini-nuclear reactor, which would be available for delivery in 2013. Something tells me that municipal and county officials everywhere are going to be updating their zoning ordinances if a project like this one gets the go-ahead... Fortunately for local officials unfamiliar with power plant siting, any such installation will require issuance of an operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). But would the NRC consider a blanket permit for multiple units? If so, what then?

According to the Fairbanks Daily News Miner, John Reeves, owner of the four-acre site, expects the project to take a few years before it gets off the ground. Meanwhile, according to the Miner:

[T]he company developing the technology reports setting a target date of 2013 to bring its energy modules — essentially small-scale, self-contained nuclear reactors designed to be buried underground — to market. But Reeves isn’t waiting to flesh out his options — he has asked public planners at the Fairbanks North Star Borough for permission to ready the site...

Hyperion Power Generation, the company Reeves is looking to work with, reports on its Web site that its proposed modules are roughly the size of a hot tub but are powerful enough to run a 25-30 megawatt power plant.

Now let's suppose that somewhere, someone gets an operating license, setting a precedent that other developers may follow. What's next? Repurposing exurban malls and opening mini-reactor sites like branded chain stores called, say, "Rickover's Secret"? Now that's the kind of proliferation that a Suburban Survivalist could learn to love: simply turn "not in my backyard"--NIMBY--into IMBY.

More posts on the Hyperion mini nuclear reactor
Portable Backyard Nuclear Reactors Ready to be Installed by 2013
Babcock & Wilcox Shrinks the Nuclear Reactor, But Not the Waste
It's Time to Nuke the Tar Sands!

Tags: Alaska | Nuclear Power

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