Microreactor coming to Alaska Eielson AFB
DoD Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program bears fruit Metal Tech News – November 3, 2021
Last updated 7/12/2022 at 1:17pm
Under the radar, the Department of the Air Force selected Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska to pilot its first micro-reactor, the next generation of energy capabilities that could power some of the most rural regions of the Last Frontier.
Initiated in response to the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that required identifying potential locations to site, construct, and operate a micro-reactor by the end of 2027, the Eielson Air Force Base in North Pole, Alaska, was chosen due to existing infrastructure and ideal climate conditions.
The next-generation energy capability will provide the facility with a new clean, reliable, and resilient nuclear energy supply for critical national security infrastructure.
"Energy is a critical asset to ensure mission continuity at our installations," said Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Environment, Safety, and Infrastructure Mark Correll. "Micro-reactors are a promising technology for ensuring energy resilience and reliability, and are particularly well-suited for powering and heating remote domestic military bases like Eielson AFB."
U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) applauded the U.S. Department of Defense for its choice as a staunch proponent of alternative clean energy.
In her former role as chair of the Senate Energy Committee, Murkowski shepherded into law her bill – the Energy Act of 2020 – which includes provisions to support advanced nuclear reactors.
"Strong energy capabilities are critical to our national security and geopolitical interests. Given Alaska's strategic location, Alaska's Eielson Air Force Base being selected as the preferred pilot location to host the first Department of the Air Force nuclear micro-reactor is significant news. This is an exciting development for Alaska and helps to broaden our state's energy infrastructure. I commend the DoD for investing in smart, safe, and clean next-generation energy efforts," said the Alaska senator.
As a senior member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Murkowski has helped secure significant funding for nuclear micro-reactor development and helped spearhead the creation of the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program.
"The implementation of micro-reactor technology will bring clean, and resilient energy opportunities that boost our economy and strengthen our national security infrastructure without the concerns of a large nuclear reactor," said Murkowski. "Eielson Air Force Base, home to an expanding fleet of F35 aircraft, is an excellent choice for a micro-reactor thanks to the already-existing energy infrastructure, climate conditions, and willingness of Alaskan servicemembers and their communities to pursue these important energy and defense opportunities."