Nuclear Power Plant Proposed for Guam

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster last  year, it seems inconceivable that nuclear power is still being touted as a ‘safe’ and ‘greener’ alternative to fossil fuels.   But according to the an article in the Mariana Variety shared by Koohan Paik, “‘Clean’ nuclear power eyed”, a nuclear power plant is being considered for Guam:

THE Consolidated Commission on Utilities and the Guam Power Authority are investigating a new type of “generation five” nuclear power generator – one that could potentially reduce power costs for Guam ratepayers by half or more.

The Variety has learned Dr. Jay W. Khim, CEO of Global Energy Corp. (GEC) based in Annandale, Va., made a presentation to the utilities commission, GPA officials and Navy engineers last month and will make another tomorrow afternoon.

This so-called “generation five” nuclear power plant technology was developed jointly with the Navy:

You have to change the basic science of nuclear power,” Khim explained. “We’ve been working with the U.S. Navy for about 22 years and the basic science phase is now over. Now we’re going into commercial development, which the Navy is not going to do.”  But Khim says the science has been repeatedly duplicated by the Navy, and has been proven, recognized and published.

[…]

Global Energy Corp. is proposing to build a 50-megawatt plant as a pilot project on Guam, on a build, operate and transfer basis for which GEC would obtain its own financing. Guam ratepayers would pay only for the electric power generated. Khim says he will finance the estimated $250 million plant himself. “No initial money for Guam at all,” Khim assured. “I’ll pay all the money; I’ll run it; and give Guam cheap electricity.” He says once his company and the CCU enter into a memorandum of understanding, other issues, such as the location of the reactor, will be explored.

“Our plan is to fuel the generator only once, and the fuel would last for 50 years,” Khim said. The fuel will be natural, unenriched uranium ore, which is mined in various countries including the U.S. and Australia.

“This concept is simple,” Khim added. “We’re tsunami-proof, earthquake-proof, and typhoon-proof. There is no chance of a major catastrophe because there can be no meltdown. This is clean, green nuclear energy. This is the future … where we are going. This is a dream come true for all humankind.”

It sounds too good to be true.  Have we heard all this before?

This energy is to propel the machines of progress; to light our cities and our towns; to fire our factories; to provide new sources of fresh water; and to really help us solve the mysteries of outer space as it brightens our life on this planet.

We have moved far to tame for peaceful uses the mighty forces unloosed when the atom was split. And we have only just begun. What happened here merely raised the curtain on a very promising drama in our long journey for a better life.

- President Lyndon B. Johnson, Remarks at the National Reactor Testing Station, Arco, Idaho, The American Presidency Project, August 26, 1966

Makiko Sato, a Japanese peace and anti-nuclear activist has been alerting others that the nuclear industry has been trying to remake itself, including exploiting new markets for small nuclear reactors geared to islands and other remote locations. An article in Nuclear Street “Under The Hood With Duncan Williams – Toshiba 4S” described one type of small nuclear reactor that was proposed for Alaska:

In November of 2009, the U.S Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources introduced legislation that would provide funding to the Department of Energy for the development of small nuclear reactors.  The Nuclear Power 2021 Act (S. 2812) would allow the federal government to fund 50% of the cost of the development and licensing of two different small modular reactor designs.

One of the co-sponsors of the bill, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, hopes that one of these new small reactor designs will be built in Alaska.  In fact, the NRC has already met with the city manager and vice mayor of Galena, Alaska, in order to discuss plans for building a proposed small nuclear reactor there.  Since the current bill requires that at least one of the designs must have a rated capacity of not more than 50 electrical Megawatts, a likely candidate for the Alaska site would be a design by Toshiba Corporation known as the Super-Safe, Small and Simple (4S) reactor.  The 4S design has a capacity of 10 electrical Megawatts, and would therefore qualify for funding under the proposed legislation.

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