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“New Nuclear” lobbyists, Nuclear Alternative Project and USA’s CINTAC, target Puerto Rico

Nuclear Advocates Set Sights on Advanced Reactors for Puerto Rico

With big push of meetings with key officials, nuclear industry hopes to be part of Puerto Rico’s energy future, Morning ConsultBY JACQUELINE TOTH 

  • Supporters are highlighting the energy, climate and safety benefits of advanced reactor concepts.
  • Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives passed a resolution to study nuclear energy.
  • Details are sparse this early in the discussions, and Puerto Rico has no concrete plans for nuclear, instead focusing on other sources.
Nuclear industry professionals have launched a long-term bid to convince Puerto Rico they may have the solution for the island’s energy woes. ………

A group of nuclear industry professionals, who have formed The Nuclear Alternative Project nonprofit organization, recently hosted a group of nuclear executives to meet with Puerto Rican lawmakers and officials to discuss new nuclear concepts.

“We were in Puerto Rico for four days, and we were able to take the conversation from, ‘You guys are nuts,’” to something Puerto Ricans would consider if it would lower their energy bills, said Jesabel Rivera, the nonprofit’s community impact and engagement consultant.

But a host of questions over when, where, how and at what cost these reactors would be deployed and operated in Puerto Rico remains unanswered at this early stage. Some groups have also raised environmental concerns.

Officials from companies that included small modular reactor and micro-reactor developers NuScale Power LLC, X-Energy LLC, Westinghouse Electric Co. and GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Inc., attended the meetings on the island.

“A lot of folks didn’t know anything about nuclear other than what they had kind of seen in movies,” said Jose Reyes, chief technology officer of NuScale, who attended the trip. “One person mentioned Homer Simpson.”

Another participant was Donald Hoffman, president and chief executive of nuclear consultancy EXCEL Services Corp., founder of the United Nuclear Industry Alliance, a former adviser to now-President Donald Trump and a member of the Commerce Department’s Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee.

Several of the recent tour’s other participants are CINTAC members.

After the tour, Puerto Rico’s House of Representatives on Nov. 7 approved a resolution that calls on the House Government Commission to investigate the need for nuclear energy reactors on the island and report back within 180 days.
SMRs are billed as faster-to-construct, safer technologies with longer refueling cycles compared to older nuclear reactors, though no U.S. designs have yet undergone construction. The U.S. SMR furthest along in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process is NuScale, which has completed phase one of design review……

But discussions are at a nascent stage.

“There’s not enough detail yet. There’s no site,” design or cost determination for nuclear in Puerto Rico, Carlos Fernández-Lugo, chairman of the environmental, energy and land use practice group at law firm McConnell Valdés LLC, said during an Oct. 30 public panel discussion on nuclear energy held at the Mayagüez campus of the University of Puerto Rico.

It also remains unclear whether the customer for a nuclear plant would be the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the struggling government-owned utility that is undergoing restructuring.

The Nuclear Alternative Project is looking for funding to move forward with a feasibility study, Rivera said.

On Friday, however, a spokeswoman from the Department of Energy said the department does not have plans for a study on advanced nuclear in Puerto Rico at this time.
Puerto Rico does not currently have any operating nuclear reactors, but it once had the Boiling Nuclear Superheater Reactor Facility, an experimental reactor in Rincón, which operated at full power in 1965 but stopped about three years later due to technical difficulties and the resulting expensive changes that would be required. It was decommissioned, and decontamination work continued into the early 2000s.  https://morningconsult.com/2018/11/19/nuclear-advocates-set-sights-advanced-reactors-puerto-rico/
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November 19, 2018 - Posted by | marketing, spinbuster, USA

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