US Military Seeks Comments on Its Plan to Build a Small, Transportable Nuclear Reactor
America’s Department of Defense “is taking input on its plan to build an advanced mobile nuclear microreactor prototype at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho,” reports the Associated Press:

The department began a 45-day comment period on Friday with the release of a draft environmental impact study evaluating alternatives for building and operating the microreactor that could produce 1 to 5 megawatts of power. The department’s energy needs are expected to increase, it said. “A safe, small, transportable nuclear reactor would address this growing demand with a resilient, carbon-free energy source that would not add to the DoD’s fuel needs, while supporting mission-critical operations in remote and austere environments,” the Defense Department said.

The draft environmental impact statement cites President Joe Biden’s January 27 executive order prioritizing climate change considerations in national security as another reason for pursuing microreactors. The draft document said alternative energy sources such as wind and solar were problematic because they are limited by location, weather and available land area, and would require redundant power supplies. The department said it uses 30 terawatt-hours of electricity per year and more than 10 million gallons (37.9 million liters) of fuel per day. Powering bases using diesel generators strains operations and planning, the department said, and need is expected to grow during a transition to an electrical, non-tactical vehicle fleet. Thirty terawatt-hours is more energy than many small countries use in a year.

The department in the 314-page draft environmental impact statement said it wants to reduce reliance on local electric grids, which are highly vulnerable to prolonged outages from natural disasters, cyberattacks, domestic terrorism and failure from lack of maintenance. The department also said new technologies such as drones and radar systems increase energy demands…

The Defense Department said a final environmental impact statement and decision about how or whether to move forward is expected in early 2022. If approved, preparing testing sites at the Idaho National Lab and then building and testing of the microreactor would take about three years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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