Alaska Village Moves from Diesel to ‘Micro-Nuke’ Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

The small town of Galena, Alaska, is tired to pay 28 cents/kwh for its electricity, three times the national average. Today, Galena “is powered by generators burning diesel that is barged in during the Yukon River’s ice-free months,” according to Reuters. But Toshiba, which designs a small nuclear reactor named 4S (for “Super Safe, Small, & Simple”), is offering a free reactor to the 700-person village, reports the New York Times. Galena will only pay for operating costs, driving down the price of electricity to less than 10 cents/kwh. The 4S is a sodium-cooled fast spectrum reactor — a low-pressure, self-cooling reactor. It will generate power for 30 years before refueling and should be installed before 2010 providing an approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.