DEC announces proposed regulations for microreactors in Alaska

Public input available until May 11.
 Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation logo.
Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation logo. (KTUU)
Published: Mar. 11, 2023 at 3:38 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Proposed regulations for the siting of nuclear-microreactors in Alaska have been made public by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

In response to the U.S. Air Force Microreactor pilot program and Governor Dunleavy’s efforts to utilize microreactors in Alaska, the DEC has drafted regulations that would apply for the siting of these energy sources.

Microreactors are small nuclear reactors that can operate independently from the power grid. The small size and self contained power source allows them to operate like batteries. These reactors can produce between 1 to 50 megawatts of energy and boast a lifespan of up to ten years. This makes the reactors perfect for small communities both on and off the road system.

Among the proposed regulations include a requirement to give advanced notice to communities that are expected to receive a microreactor. Other regulations include pre-siting surveys, environmental restrictions and regulations, and location requirements.

In order for a microreactor to be put in place, groups looking to utilize the energy source will also have to go through the licensing process of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and receive approval in the form of a permit in the municipality where the microreactor is proposed to operate.

Eielson Air Force Base is expected to have a microreactor in operation by 2027.

The public is able to comment on the proposed regulations until May 11.

Visit the Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation website - Proposed Regulation for Siting of Microreactors for complete proposed regulations and to submit public comments.