Is Alaska ready to go nuclear? Is nuclear ready for Alaska?

The nuclear-generated power industry is taking off. Among the latest developments are microreactors that might have advantages for remote communities in Alaska struggling with high energy costs, or military bases, or remote mining operations. It’s time to find out more. (Image courtesy of Office of Nuclear Energy, US Department of Energy.)

It’s probably time for everyday Alaskans to learn more about new developments in nuclear technology that may have potential benefits for Alaska—an energy-producing state that still faces rural high energy costs and challenging geography. The time is right because the industry is making fast progress on size and safety. Still, disastrous events like Chernobyl and Fukushima taint common perception about the safety of nuclear power. It’s time to learn what has changed and what could be headed for Alaska.

Right now, Alaska is in the beginning stages of exploring whether small nuclear technologies could be an option for the state. Recent studies published by the Alaska Center for Energy and Power and University of Alaska Center for Economic Development analyze technology readiness, potential in-state markets, licensing and permitting, and economics of a hypothetical deployment.

On today’s Hometown Alaska, two guests who’ve helped to author those introductory studies on the nuclear industry’s potential future intersection with Alaska are here to explain what’s known so far, what remains to be understood, and how Alaskans might consider the coming of nuclear power to Alaska.

As always, your questions and comments are welcome throughout the show. Please join us!

HOST: Kathleen McCoy

GUESTS:

  • Gwen Holdmann, Executive Director, UAF Center for Energy and Power
  • Richelle Johnson, Lead Analyst, UA Center for Economic Development, UAA Enterprise Institute
  • Dr. John Jackson, National Technical Director for the Department of Energy Microreactor Program, Idaho National Laboratory

LINKS:

  • “Small scale modular nuclear power: An option for Alaska?” By Alaska Center for Energy and Power, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 4-page infographic-style PDF
  • “Small scale nuclear power: An option for Alaska? By Alaska Center for Energy and Power, University of Alaska Fairbanks, updated in January 2021, 60-page PDF
  • “Microreactors in Alaska: Use case analysis, October 2020, UA Center for Economic Development, housed at the UAA Enterprise Institute, 76-page PDF
  • Infographic: What is a micronuclear reactor? US Department of Energy website and video
  • Could micro nuclear be a fit for Alaska? Alaska Center for Energy and Power, video
  • What is a nuclear microreactor? 1 min You Tube video, Office of Nuclear Energy
  • Department of Energy Microreactor Program, Idaho National Lab, 2-pg PDF Fact Sheet
  • Experts explore options for microreactors in Alaska, Idaho National Laboratory website, Aug. 1, 2019

ZOOM PUBLIC EVENT:

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  • Send e-mail to hometown@alaskapublic.org before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air)
  • Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air
  • LIVE: Monday, April 12, 2021 at 10 a.m.
  • RE-AIR: Monday, Aprll 12, 2021 at 8:00 p.m.

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kmccoy (at) alaskapublic (dot) org | About Kathleen