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The Galena Nuclear Power Plant is a proposed nuclear power plant to be constructed in the Yukon River village of Galena in the U.S. state of Alaska. If built, it would be the first non-military nuclear power plant built in Alaska to be utilized for public utility generation.

Contents

Background

Galena is not accessible by road, and its energy needs are provided by large air and water shipments of fuel oils, gasoline and propane. Electricity use is avoided, and accounts for only 4% of the village's energy usage. Space heating is done by the end user by using kerosene and wood. Because of Galena's climate the Yukon River is frozen 8–9 months of the year, stopping all delivery by the seasonal river barges. The alternative delivery is by aircraft tanker. This scarcity of fuel makes energy very expensive for area residents. The price of electricity is dictated by the price of fuel oil, $2.45/gal = $0.35/kWh(2004), $4.25/gal = $0.68/kWh(2006).

Proposal

On December 14, 2004, the Galena City Council accepted a proposal from Toshiba to test their new Toshiba 4S (Super Safe, Small and Simple) “nuclear battery” reactor design, which would require only minimal staffing. If the reactor is successfully licensed, Toshiba will install it free of charge by 2012. It is expected to provide electricity for $0.05–$0.13/kWh, which factors in only operating costs. On paper, it has been determined that the reactor could run for 30 years without refueling.

The liquid sodium cooled reactor would heat steam to 500 °C (932 °F) and would be located in a sealed concrete cylindrical vault 30 m (98 ft) underground, while the above-ground turbine building would be 22 × 16 × 11 m (72 × 52.5 x 36 ft) in size. The generation plant would provide a more-than-sufficient ten megawatts of power to the community of Galena.

Toshiba intends to sell more 4S reactors in Alaska and the rest of the United States if the Galena project succeeds.

As of 2010, the project is still in its final planning stages with final regulatory submission planned for October 2010. The City Council passes a resolution every six months reaffirming the community's support for the reactor.

In April 2008, Marvin Yoder, a consultant on the reactor, said that Toshiba was planning to make the application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2009, and that if approval is given in 2010 or 2011, the reactor could be operational by 2012 or 2013. The company is also developing a 50 megawatt (electric) version of the reactor.[1]

Notes

  1. ^ Toshiba continues efforts for Galena nuclear power plant, Alaska Journal of Commerce, April 27, 2008

References

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