The Nuclear Alternative Project (NAP) is a non-profit that brings together Puerto Rican engineers from across the U.S. nuclear industry under one mission - to study and educate about advanced reactors for Puerto Rico. NAP is composed of reactor operators, designers, consultants, all working in the U.S. nuclear industry, born and raised in Puerto Rico, and giving their skills to pave the way for a strong and modern Puerto Rico.
© Copyright 2015 - 2020.
HOW EVERYTHING STARTED
In late 2015, Eddie Guerra, a seismic engineer, grabbed his phone and called his college friends Angel Reyes, a PWR Senior Reactor Operator, and Jesús Nuñez, a structural engineer. Eddie asked them: "How is it that no one is talking about advanced reactors to help solve Puerto Rico's energy problems? From an engineering standpoint, these reactors make so much sense - they are smaller and with all the safety enhancements from previous generation designs".
Eddie, Angel and Jesus - all Puerto Rican engineers working in the U.S. nuclear industry - realized that before these technologies could transform Puerto Rico's energy sector, the people first needed to understand the benefits and challenges of advanced reactors. They trusted that the people of Puerto Rico themselves, when exposed to the details of the technology of advanced reactors, will feel empowered and be open to this alternative.
This is how The Nuclear Alternative Project (NAP) got started - An in-depth understanding of advanced nuclear technology coupled with a strong desire to provide an energy alternative for Puerto Rico; and trust that the people would learn about the technology and ultimately decide themselves whether to pursue it or not.
MERGING the TECHNICAL with the LAYMAN'S
Our team grew organically, along with the challenges we were facing while reaching out to Puerto Rico. We noticed our approach needed to integrate and reach the general public. Thus, we decided to adopt a strong community engagement approach. Communicating facts and data alone wasn't working for us.
That’s when Jesabel Rivera, a public health professional and community engagement expert came on board. She brought in years of experience in mobilizing communities for change. Her expertise allowed us to design a softer approach that moved and evolved at the pace of the community. We set our sails to teach and educate first about advanced reactors and trusting that everything else will fall into place on its own.
BUILDING a STRONG ORGANIZATION
As our efforts started being noticed and more people wanted to join our initiative, we understood that it was time to formally organize our team. Valerie Lugo, a human resources professional, entrepreneur and business expert, joined NAP to help us organize into a formal non-profit. This step gave NAP a sustainable model for the challenges and opportunities coming for us. As NAP embarked into deeper conversations with leadership and supporters, we were being confronted with technical aspects outside of our own engineering capabilities.
Here is where we formed an advisory panel of recognized Nuclear Industry leaders to help us navigate a world that was new to us. Eddie Guerra, Luis Reyes, Carmen Bigles, Paul Murphy and Juan Cajigas formed our advisory group and guided us in matters related to regulations, project development and industry applications. We called this team the Advisory Board.
The TRAIN of OPPORTUNITIES
In 2017, Eddie Guerra presented the idea of SMRs for Puerto Rico to the U.S. Department of Commerce Civil Infrastructure Nuclear Trading Advisory Committee (CINTAC). The members of CINTAC published a Position Paper encouraging local leadership to evaluate such option. In 2018, the Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives, Hon. Gabriel Rodriguez Aguiló, passed a Resolution to study the feasibility and alternative of SMRs and Microreactors in Puerto Rico. Subsequently, in 2019, the Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) awarded NAP a grant to perform a preliminary feasibility study to assess market conditions, legal framework, existing infrastructure and public perception for advanced nuclear technology in the island. This study is the first ever comprehensive assessment of advanced reactors in Puerto Rico. We are so proud it was led by Puerto Rican engineers! We are also grateful and honored we had the support of industry partners and national laboratories to successfully accomplish this milestone.
STRIDES for a STRONG and MODERN PUERTO RICO
NAP's effort has reached thousands, both in Puerto Rico and around the world. All on a volunteer basis and with a strict commitment to NAP's original idea - to bring awareness to the people about this new and advanced technology; and trust that after learning about the technology they ultimately decide themselves whether to pursue it or not.
As of today, we are happy to say that there is an active House Resolution in Puerto Rico to study SMRs and Microreactors; that the DOE have supported our mission to study the alternative of SMRs and Microreactors in Puerto Rico; and that NAP’s community engagement efforts have shown that more than 90% of the population in Puerto Rico are actually open to the alternative of nuclear energy in the island -- debunking a decades-old myth that locals opposed nuclear.
NAP's story showcases the sentiment of many Puerto Rican professionals, that although we have physically left the island, we haven't lost our identity nor our desire and dream to see the island progress and prosper. In our case, we are engineers and professionals that came together to evaluate the advances in nuclear technology as an alternative to solve Puerto Rico's pressing energy needs. Studying the feasibility of advanced reactors and engaging directly with our communities is the project that NAP is devoted to. We do it for the people of Puerto Rico - as well as our friends and family - and in an effort to push for a strong and modern Puerto Rico. This is The Nuclear Alternative Project.
Eddie M. Guerra was born and raised in San Sebastián, Puerto Rico, Eddie Guerra is a licensed engineer with over a decade of leadership and management experience in civil and energy infrastructure projects across the globe. Eddie's project experience spans multiple countries including the U.S., South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom, South Korea, China, Japan, Argentina and Canada. Eddie's engineering experience is characterized by his involvement in many first-of-a-kind projects including the design of the first wind farm in Puerto Rico, the design of the first Westinghouse nuclear reactor in China, the risk assessment of many nuclear plants in the U.S. after the Fukushima Daiichi accident, the design certification of the first Small Modular Reactor in the U.S. and the first U.S. DOE-sponsored feasibility study of advanced reactors in Puerto Rico. Eddie has co-founded non-profit organizations including The Voluntariado of Engineers of Puerto Rico and The Nuclear Alternative Project. Eddie has led emergency response and reconstruction recovery efforts in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Earthquakes in 2020. He is a recognized leader in the U.S. energy sector - Eddie served as the youngest member of the of the Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee (CINTAC) which advices the U.S. Secretary of Commerce on the Competitiveness of the U.S. nuclear industry, he serves in committees for standards of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Nuclear Society. He also serves as industry practice advisor for graduate students at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez. Eddie holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master’s degree in Structural Engineering from Lehigh University. He holds professional engineering licenses in Pennsylvania, Texas and Puerto Rico.
Carmen I. Bigles is President and CEO of Coquí RadioPharmaceuticals (Coquí Pharma). Prior to founding Coquí Pharma, Bigles co-founded and served as CFO of Caribbean Radiation Oncology Center in Puerto Rico. The center is one of the region’s premier medical facilities for advanced oncological radiation technology. Bigles oversaw the $12 million construction of the center’s first facility in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, and ensured the clinic was opened one year ahead of schedule. Bigles was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Interamerican University in San Juan in 1997 and two master’s degrees, the first in architecture and the second in suburban and town planning, from the University of Miami in 2000. Bigles lives in Coral Gables, Florida, with her husband, Dr. Pedro A. Serrano-Ojeda, and their two daughters, Carmen Irene Serrano-Bigles and Caterina Isabel Serrano-Bigles.
Carmen I. Bigles
Luis Reyes has more than 35 years of nuclear experience and has served in various Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) senior management positions. Luis frequently interacted with the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) by participating in the Nuclear Power oversight Committee meetings and the NEI Nuclear Energy Assembly. He also served as executive-on-loan to the Department of Energy (DOE) to conduct a nuclear safety review at the request of the DOE Assistant Secretary. He was an expert consultant to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the area of operations experience, new nuclear plant construction and regulatory organizations. On behalf of the IAEA, Luis led a team of international experts in the review of the regulatory organization of a European country. Under his leadership, the NRC received recognition and praise multiple times as the best place to work in the federal government and as a “Best Diversity Company.” During his tenure, the NRC budget was significantly increased, and the Commission consistently received the highest rating on the Government Performance Assessment review. Luis has received honors and awards that include the Presidential Distinguished Rank award and the Presidential Meritorious Rank award, which he was awarded three times. These awards are distributed by the President of the United States to a small group of career senior executives and senior career employees. Luis holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and a Master of Science degree in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus.
Paul Murphy’s work covers multiple aspects of the energy and infrastructure project sector. From project development and structuring to contracting and financing, Paul's practice has spanned a variety of sectors, to include nuclear power, thermal power, renewable energy, PPP structures, pipelines, LNG facilities, process technologies, and emerging technologies. In the nuclear sector, Paul has experience in multiple aspects of the nuclear industry – from legal and policy matters, including international regulatory and treaty frameworks and issues regarding nuclear liability, to strategies for creating viable nuclear power programs and the identification and mitigation of associated risks – representing governments, developers/owners, investors, lenders, technology developers, and contractors on nuclear projects globally. He has served as a five-time appointee on the US Secretary of Commerce’s Civilian Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee and has been recognized three times in the publication, Who's Who Legal: Energy. He is a member of ASME's Clean Energy Technology Advisory Panel. Paul teaches for the IAEA and at Argonne National Laboratory and Texas A&M for their international training programs for the nuclear industry.
Juan is president and owner of applied analysis corporation, a nuclear engineering services firm headquartered in Reading, PA. Juan has over thirty five years' nuclear power engineering experience in the areas of thermal hydraulic/heat transfer analysis; mechanical, nuclear, and chemical design engineering and analysis; simulation software engineering; radiological/shielding analysis and design; nuclear safety and licensing; nuclear power plant site support engineering; project management; and plant performance engineering. Juan holds a bachelor degree in chemical engineering and a masters in nuclear engineering degree from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.
Evaristo J. "Tito" Bonano, Ph.D.
Tito Bonano has 39 years of broad expertise in the complete nuclear energy fuel cycle. His work has included diverse research and development projects where he led scores of technical professionals and engaged multiple government agencies. He is an internationally renowned expert in the back end of the fuel cycle. At Sandia National Laboratories until his retirement in December 2021, Tito was a senior manager leading a multidisciplinary organization conducting R&D project for customers such as the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and private sector firms and government organizations, both domestic and international. Currently, Tito is Principal Advisor for Nuclear Fuel Cycle Programs at NAC International Inc.
His responsibilities at Sandia included such programs as small modular reactors, nuclear space launch safety analysis, advanced energy conversion system development, fuel cycle systems engineering, used fuel storage, transportation and disposal, and advanced modeling and simulation.
Tito degrees in chemical engineering include a B.S. from the University Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (UPRM), and M.S. and Ph.D. from Clarkson University. He has served as an adjunct professor in the Department of Chemical and Nuclear Engineering at the University of New Mexico, and he has published more than 90 technical papers.
He was a member of the UPRM College of Engineering industrial advisory board. Tito is the winner of two Secretary of Energy Achievement Awards and of two Great Minds in STEM’s HENAAC awards: Entrepreneur of the Year in 2000 and the Lifetime Achievement – National Laboratory in 2020.
Our Mission is to educate about nuclear energy in a manner that facilitates the free exchange of information with the people of Puerto Rico. Our educational efforts are based on the latest trends in nuclear technology and our in-depth understanding of Puerto Rico's energy needs - Read Our Feasibility Study Report Here
Our Vision is for Puerto Rico to have the utmost robust and resilient energy system. This will serve as the foundation for a Puerto Rico that every Puerto Rican aspires to - strong communities, a globally competitive economy and a healthy and resilient society.