Alaskan town opts for “pocket reactor”

GALENA, ALASKA - The town leaders of Galena, Alaska, which is hundreds of kilometres from the nearest power plant, have signed up for what some call a "pocket nuke" or "nuclear battery" that produces just 10 megawatts - about 1 per cent of the energy an average nuclear plant generates, Mark Clayton reports in The Christian Science Monitor.

Japanese manufacturer Toshiba has told the town it will install its new 4S (super-safe, small and simple) reactor free of charge by 2012. The unit, which would be buried about 30 metres underground, would only have to be refuelled about every 30 years.

Interest in pocket nuclear plants is growing among developing countries and island nations, advocates say.

Unlike solar and wind power, the plants would generate power 24/7 and at a fraction of the cost of a diesel generator, they say.


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