© 2016-2019 THE NUCLEAR ALTERNATIVE PROJECT

The Nuclear Alternative Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, incorporated in the State of Texas. 

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NuclearAlternativeProject.org   |  info@nuclearalternativeproject.org

#Nuclear4PuertoRico

In 2016, a group of Puerto Rican-born engineers, working for the U.S. nuclear industry, and motivated by the benefits modern nuclear reactors can have for Puerto Rico and its economy, decided to launch the #Nuclear4PuertoRico effort. 

The group realized that the only way to eradicate misinformation about nuclear was by bridging the gaps between the experts and grassroots community, taking into consideration the history and culture of Puerto Rico. 

Why an Advanced Reactor for Puerto Rico?

The Need

Going Nuclear

Reliable Base Load

Puerto Rico possesses a modern infrastructure, U.S. military bases, manufacturing and pharma sector. Puerto Rico needs a base load with the reliability and resiliency commensurate with

such infrastructure.

With a capacity factor of 90%, passive cooling safety enhancements, and robust design, no other base load generation can match nuclear.

Zero-Carbon Emissions

In response to the effects of climate change in Puerto Rico, local leaders have adopted an aggressive path towards decarbonization of the power generating fleet.

Modern Nuclear Reactors provide the zero-emission base load to achieve decarbonization goals.

Economic Boost

Puerto Rico needs an energy source that produces jobs and can sustain the demands of a vibrant and robust economy.

No other energy source matches the tax base revenue for local schools, job creation capability, and
global export potential that nuclear energy can provide.

Protection of Natural Resources

Energy Independence

The path to decarbonization must not sacrifice one of Puerto Rico's most valuable resource - its land.

Puerto Rico needs to cut its heavy dependency on fossil fuel imports.

Compared with other energy sources, modern reactors require less land per kilowatt hour. Also, the Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) for new reactors is limited to the site boundary.

The fuel cycle for advanced reactors is very low, with most modern designs requiring refueling no less than 2 years. This will drastically reduce fuel imports to the Island.

 

#Nuclear4PuertoRico Updates

 

Kicking Off The Feasibility Study For Puerto Rico!

Feasibility Study

Project Team

We are excited to announce that this week we are officially kicking-off the feasibility study of SMR's and Microreactors for Puerto Rico, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy! 

The main objective of this study is to provide energy stakeholders with timely and reliable information regarding the feasibility of deploying microreactors and SMRs in Puerto Rico. A broad spectrum of stakeholders would benefit from this study, including, municipal, state and federal government entities, electric utilities, investors, university and research facilities, developers, and grassroots communities.

 

The feasibility study will be aligned with ongoing Puerto Rico's House of Representatives Resolution 1189 which seeks to evaluate advanced reactors as an option for Puerto Rico's energy future. Resolution 1189 closes by the end of this year and Puerto Rico's House leadership is looking forward to the results of the study.

 

The feasibility study will be looking at the following topics: 

  • Needs assessment in Puerto Rico: energy, economic, environmental and societal needs

  • SMRs and Microreactor technologies Special Applications for Puerto Rico ( hazard, geographic, meteorological, environmental and pharma, military, microgrids)

  • Assessment of Legal and Regulatory Framework in Puerto Rico

  • Financing, Operation and Ownership of SMRs and Microreactors in Puerto Rico

  • Political and Public Sentiment

A final report for this study will be published by the end of the year. 

Technology Advisory Board

We are honored to have a Technology Advisory Board (TAB) comprised by distinguished leaders in both academy and industry, Marcus Nichol (NEI), Jeff Harper (Xenergy), José Reyes (NuScale), Abdul Dulloo (Westinghouse), David Sledsik (GEHitachi), Paul Murphy (MEIC, LLC) and  Dr. Amr Elnashai (University of Houston), chaired by our advisor Luis Reyes, former Executive Director of Operations of U.S. NRC. The TAB will be responsible for providing NAP technical advice throughout the duration of the feasibility study. Their input will be essential for the realistic evaluation of all the topics considered for the study in Puerto Rico, and how U.S. microreactor and SMR technologies would fit into Puerto Rico’s future energy portfolio and policy. 

Feasibility Study for Modern Nuclear Reactors in Puerto Rico

Feasibility Study Technology Advisory Board

The Nuclear Alternative Project (NAP) is currently working on a proposal to fund a feasibility study for modern nuclear reactors in Puerto Rico. The proposed study will consider the general technological advances provided by small scale (up to 720 MW capacity) plants being deployed in the form of Advanced pressurized water reactors (PWRs), advanced boiling (BWRs), Microreactors and high gas temperature reactors (HGTRs).  Multiple international vendors are well positioned to provide turnkey solutions with no development risk and minimal investment risk to the island if specified and procured appropriately.

Puerto Rico’s adoption of small scale nuclear power generation could allow it to:

  • Increase power generation capacity

  • Lower levelized cost of electricity (LCOE)

  • Increase grid stability and resilience in the face of extreme events

  • Lower carbon and particulate emissions

  • Increase employment

  • Increase economic activity on the Island.

Key data for the proposed study will be drawn from previous national and international literature, industry best and state of the art practices, knowledge of the island geography, demography and economic aspirations, and views of stakeholders.  The results from this economic and feasibility study will include safety, environmental and societal factors in any recommendations and will suitably inform decisions by the PR Energy Commission, regulators and funding agencies.

The study is to be undertaken by a team of national and local experts in their fields and will be led by NAP. 

The study will count with a Technical Advisory Board (TAB) that will serve as an independent advisory board to NAP with regards to SMR technology input and other key elements of the feasibility study. The composition of the TAB is proposed as follows:

  • Luis Reyes - Regulations (Chair)

  • Paul Murphy – Murphy Energy & Infrastructure Consulting, LLC - Financing, Legal, and Project Development

  • Amr Elnashai - University of Houston - Seismicity

  • José Reyes - NuScale - PWRs

  • David Sledzik - GE Hitachi - BWRs

  • Abdul Dulloo – Westinghouse - Micro reactors

  • Jeff Harper – X-energy - HTGRs

 

We are currently awaiting confirmation of at least two other local organizations to participate on the technical advisory board. 

This proposal has been submitted and received by the DOE-NE Rev. 4/19/2019

Small Modular Reactor Puerto Rico Education Trip

October 28th - November 1st

On the week of October 30th of 2018, a delegation of Puerto Rican engineers who work in the U.S. nuclear power industry and U.S. executives traveled to Puerto Rico to present the technological advances of SMRs in contrast with how conventional nuclear power plants are built and operated. The audience included government and educational entities as well as the general public. The intent of these discussions aimed to inform leadership and the public on the differences in nuclear technology and how the latest advances make SMRs suitable for territories like Puerto Rico. The closing remarks focused on presenting the case that SMRs would be beneficial for Puerto Rico from a technological standpoint but further work is needed to evaluate the economic viability. All meetings concluded with a discussion on the openness of the Puerto Rican leadership to a feasibility study to evaluate the economic viability of an SMR for Puerto Rico. Overall, we learned that the leadership in Puerto Rico is open to the idea of such feasibility study. Responses varied in tone of openness. For example, the leadership in the House of Representatives immediately proposed a resolution to study the potential of SMRs for Puerto Rico, whereas the leadership in the Senate, although supportive of nuclear energy, avoided any commitment until maturity of the energy policy bill in Puerto Rico is reached. Further, not only the leadership in the House of Representatives was extremely positive, but City Mayors and the Energy Bureau welcomed the idea with great expectancy. It is worth quoting the Energy Bureau in saying “information is power”.


The presence of executives from the U.S. nuclear industry opened the opportunity for future business and investments in Puerto Rico. For instance, all vendors established connections with UPRM for future collaboration and with local employers for follow-up on Puerto Rico’s energy market. 


One of the key accomplishments of this trip was that the U.S. delegation that traveled to Puerto Rico started changing Puerto Rico’s perception towards SMRs. Also, and to our surprise, we believe that our own perception changed towards Puerto Rico’s receptiveness to modern nuclear technology. We traveled to Puerto Rico under the assumption that most people would be reluctant to such dialogue because of fear. But meeting after meeting, the conversations were highlighted by openness and sincere interest for learning. First, the leadership was open and listened to our presentations. Once the presentations concluded, they understood the differences between conventional nuclear power and SMRs and acknowledged the benefits of SMRs from a technological and safety perspective for Puerto Rico.


Further, we interacted with the general public in Mayaguez, municipalities of San Sebastian and several national radio talk shows and we learned that the people of Puerto Rico are tired of high costs of electricity and open to further dialogue. We learned that, in general, the public is open to dialogue as long as there is a clear economic path to improve quality of life and lower electricity costs.

This trip to Puerto Rico was led by The Nuclear Alternative Project, in partnership with the United Nuclear Industry Alliance. We also thank our sponsors for their generosity: Luis Reyes Consulting, 787 Engineering, Green Energy and Fuels, RTN Construction Corp. and our individual supporters. 

 
 
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