Legislature(2019 - 2020)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

04/25/2019 03:30 PM Senate COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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03:31:12 PM Start
03:32:21 PM Presentation: Nuclear Microreactors
05:07:20 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Nuclear Microreactors by:
- Marcus Nichol, Director of New Reactor
Deployment, Nuclear Energy Institute
- John Wagner, Associate Lab Director, Idaho
National Laboratory
- George Roe & Gwen Holdmann, UAF Alaska Center
for Energy & Power
- Michael Pawlowski, Chief of Staff, United
States Senator Lisa Murkowski
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                 
     SENATE COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                 
                          April 25, 2019                                                                                        
                            3:31 p.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Click Bishop, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Chris Birch, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator Mia Costello                                                                                                            
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION: NUCLEAR MICROREACTORS                                                                                             
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
JOHN WAGNER, Associate Director                                                                                                 
Idaho National Laboratory                                                                                                       
Idaho Falls, Idaho                                                                                                              
POSITION STATEMENT: Delivered a presentation on nuclear energy                                                                
and microreactors.                                                                                                              
MARCUS NICHOL, Director                                                                                                         
New Reactor Deployment                                                                                                          
Nuclear Energy Institute                                                                                                        
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Delivered a presentation on the policy and                                                                
regulatory opportunities of microreactors.                                                                                      
GWEN HOLDMANN, Director                                                                                                         
Alaska Center for Energy and Power                                                                                              
University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Delivered  a presentation  titled  "Nuclear                                                             
Microreactors and Alaska."                                                                                                      
GEORGE ROE, Manager                                                                                                             
Arctic Remote Energy Networks Academy                                                                                           
Alaska Center for Energy and Power                                                                                              
University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Presented  an overview  of  a  microreactor                                                             
workshop that was held in Anchorage on April 18, 2019.                                                                          
MICHAEL PAWLOWSKI, Chief of Staff                                                                                               
United States Senator for Alaska Lisa Murkowski                                                                                 
Washington, D.C.                                                                                                                
POSITION  STATEMENT: Provided  an update  on Senator  Murkowski's                                                             
efforts to advance nuclear energy at the federal level.                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
3:31:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLICK  BISHOP called  the  Senate  Community and  Regional                                                             
Affairs Standing Committee meeting to  order at 3:31 p.m. Present                                                               
at  the  call  to  order were  Senators  Gray-Jackson,  Costello,                                                               
Birch, Hoffman, and Chair Bishop.                                                                                               
^PRESENTATION: Nuclear Microreactors                                                                                            
              PRESENTATION: Nuclear Microreactors                                                                           
3:32:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   BISHOP  announced   that  the   committee  will   hear  a                                                               
presentation  on nuclear  microreactors by  John Wagner  with the                                                               
Idaho  National  Laboratory  (INL)  and Marcus  Nichol  with  the                                                               
Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).                                                                                                 
3:33:33 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN  WAGNER,  Associate   Laboratory  Director,  Idaho  National                                                               
Laboratory,  Idaho Falls,  Idaho,  stated that  he  is a  nuclear                                                               
engineer and  looks forward to  answering questions  and concerns                                                               
about nuclear energy and its potential deployment in Alaska.                                                                    
He  commenced with  his  presentation,  Microreactors: "not  your                                                               
grandparents' nuclear  plants." He  noted that  the title  of his                                                               
presentation  borrows  a  phrase from  U.S.  Senator  Murkowski's                                                               
resent op-ed,  "Not your grandparents'  nuclear plants."  He said                                                               
it  is  a  fitting  remark when  contrasting  your  grandparents'                                                               
plants to a microreactor.                                                                                                       
3:34:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WAGNER reviewed slide 2, Why nuclear energy? as follows:                                                                    
   • Only carbon-free, scalable energy source that produces                                                                     
  electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.                                                                   
   • Most reliable energy source in America:                                                                                    
       o Operating efficiency to 92 percent.                                                                                    
   • Produces, by far, America's largest percentage of zero-                                                                    
     carbon electricity, 56.1 percent.                                                                                          
   • New reactors can be:                                                                                                       
        o Right-sized to location.                                                                                              
        o Produce more than electricity.                                                                                        
        o Designed to sync with renewable resources.                                                                            
   • 19 percent of America's electricity is produced by carbon-                                                                 
     free nuclear energy by:                                                                                                    
   • 98 nuclear power plants that operate in 30 states.                                                                         
He explained  that nuclear  energy's baseload  power is  the most                                                               
reliable energy source. Last year  the collective operating fleet                                                               
achieved a  capacity factor of  92 percent. By  comparison, solar                                                               
typically achieves  around 10 to  25 percent and the  capacity of                                                               
wind tends to be around 25 to 30 percent.                                                                                       
MR.  WAGNER  said  nuclear  energy produces,  by  far,  the  most                                                               
carbon-free energy in the country  of any source; 56.1 percent in                                                               
2018, which is  more than all other carbon  free emitting sources                                                               
combined. One  of the  most relevant  factors is  energy density.                                                               
For example,  a uranium fuel pellet  the size of a  fingertip has                                                               
the energy equivalent  of three barrels of oil or  a ton of coal.                                                               
Because of  nuclear energy's density, current  reactors typically                                                               
operate  18  months  between  refueling  and  some  microreactors                                                               
operate 10 or more years between fueling.                                                                                       
MR.  WAGNER said  the  new  reactors can  be  right-sized to  the                                                               
location, produce more  than electricity, and can  be designed to                                                               
work in  concert with renewable  energy sources He  reported that                                                               
about  19 percent  of the  energy generated  in 2018  was nuclear                                                               
from 98 power plants that operate reactors in 30 states.                                                                        
3:37:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HOFFMAN asked  what country  produces  the most  nuclear                                                               
MR. WAGNER answered the United States of America.                                                                               
SENATOR  HOFFMAN asked  if Japan  at one  time produced  the most                                                               
nuclear power.                                                                                                                  
MR.  WAGNER answered  no.  He added  that  unless things  change,                                                               
China  will  surpass  the  U.S.  because  they  are  aggressively                                                               
building new nuclear reactors.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  HOFFMAN  asked  where  Russia  ranks  in  nuclear  power                                                               
MR. WAGNER answered that Russia is far behind.                                                                                  
SENATOR HOFFMAN  asked if  Russia was  the country  that designed                                                               
the first nuclear submarine.                                                                                                    
MR. WAGNER  answer no. It  was the  U.S. and the  nuclear reactor                                                               
was tested at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL).                                                                              
He explained  that the origin of  INL can be traced  back to 1949                                                               
when it was established as  the national reactor testing station.                                                               
That  is  where the  technology  was  developed for  all  nuclear                                                               
reactors that have been deployed worldwide.                                                                                     
He said  the current generation  of light water reactors  as well                                                               
as  advanced concepts  like molten  salt reactors,  sodium cooled                                                               
fast reactors, and  high temperature gas reactors  were built and                                                               
operated at INL.  There have been 52 different  reactors over the                                                               
years.  The technology  that is  now deployed  worldwide was  all                                                               
developed and  demonstrated in  concert with  other organizations                                                               
and other national laboratories.                                                                                                
He  opined  that  INL  now  has an  opportunity  to  develop  and                                                               
demonstrate  what will  be the  nuclear technology  for the  next                                                               
several decades throughout the world.                                                                                           
3:39:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WAGNER explained that One Size  Does Not Fit All is the theme                                                               
of the  evolution and  future of nuclear  reactors. To  that end,                                                               
researchers at  the Idaho  National Laboratory  are collaborating                                                               
with industry  and academia to  develop nuclear  reactor concepts                                                               
of various sizes for various use cases.                                                                                         
He said  the next few  slides will outline  grandparent reactors,                                                               
existing reactors, what  they look like, and  the evolutions that                                                               
is   generally   towards    smaller   reactors   culminating   in                                                               
MR.  WAGNER   reviewed  Existing  (Large)  Nuclear   Reactors  as                                                               
   • 98 existing plants in the United States.                                                                                   
  • New plants are on the order of a gigawatt of electricity                                                                    
     per plant.                                                                                                                 
    • Plant sites with multiple units can produce multiple                                                                      
     gigawatts of electricity.                                                                                                  
 • Smaller plants, typically older ones in the United States,                                                                   
     vary from 5 to 600 megawatts.                                                                                              
 • Two nuclear plants are being built in the state of Georgia                                                                   
     and both are a little over a gigawatt.                                                                                     
        o Two Westinghouse AP1000s.                                                                                             
• Economies of scale and getting as much electricity out of a                                                                   
     given site as possible drove design principles for bigger                                                                  
     and higher-powered plants.                                                                                                 
3:41:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON asked  how many reactors are  located on the                                                               
West Coast.                                                                                                                     
MR.  WAGNER  answered  not  very  many; the  density  is  in  the                                                               
Southeast, Northeast,  and Midwest.  He noted that  Diablo Canyon                                                               
Power  Plant is  located on  the West  Coast, one  reactor is  in                                                               
Washington state, and three units are operating in Arizona.                                                                     
SENATOR BIRCH  asked how  many employees work  in a  one gigawatt                                                               
MR. WAGNER answered approximately 500 to 700 employees.                                                                         
He explained  that as reactors were  built from the 1950s  to the                                                               
1980s, they  grew in size  and started to standardize.  They were                                                               
substantial and  complex construction projects built  on site. It                                                               
took  up  to  10  years  before power  was  generated,  and  cost                                                               
billions  of dollars.  He referenced  an illustration  that shows                                                               
the footprints of a tiny microreactor  that is less than an acre,                                                               
a   50-acre  small   module  reactor   site,  and   a  1,500-acre                                                               
representation of a large existing reactor site.                                                                                
MR. WAGNER  described the  illustration on slide  4 that  shows a                                                               
typical  existing pressurized  water reactor  (PWR). In  the U.S.                                                               
there  are two  classes  of  light water  reactors:  PWR and  the                                                               
boiling water reactor.  Basically heat coming out  of the nuclear                                                               
fuel  from the  fission reaction  heats up  water in  the reactor                                                               
pressure  vessel.  Water flows  through  the  vessel to  a  steam                                                               
generator  that drives  a turbine  to  make electricity.  Typical                                                               
pressure vessels  in a PWR  system reach 2,500 pounds  per square                                                               
inch (PSI).                                                                                                                     
3:45:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  WAGNER  described  Small  Modular Reactors  on  slide  5  as                                                               
   • The next generation of small-modular reactor designs                                                                       
     started a decade ago.                                                                                                      
   • Small-modular reactors were driven by the following                                                                        
        o Not all areas need a gigawatt of power.                                                                               
        o Smaller systems open opportunities for factory-built                                                                  
        o Potential for scalability.                                                                                            
He referenced  an image of a  new scale reactor with  multiple 60                                                               
megawatt reactor modules.                                                                                                       
SENATOR COSTELLO asked  about the size the footprint  for a small                                                               
modular reactor.                                                                                                                
MR.  WAGNER explained  that  the  site size  is  estimated to  be                                                               
around 50 acres.  The actual footprint of the buildings  is a few                                                               
SENATOR HOFFMAN asked where the  first microreactors are expected                                                               
to be in 2026.                                                                                                                  
MR.  WAGNER  answered  that  they   will  be  at  Idaho  National                                                               
Laboratory.  He   said  INL  is  working   with  Utah  Associated                                                               
Municipal  Power   Systems  (UAMPS)  that  is   a  consortium  of                                                               
municipal utilities.                                                                                                            
SENATOR HOFFMAN asked  when and where the first  reactors will be                                                               
MR. WAGNER answered at the Idaho National Laboratory.                                                                           
SENATOR  HOFFMAN  asked  if  he had  heard  of  Evgeny  Pavlovich                                                               
Velikhov, the author of Strawberries from Chernobyl.                                                                            
MR. WAGNER answered no.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  HOFFMAN   explained  that   Mr.  Velikhov   oversaw  the                                                               
Chernobyl  disaster and  was also  involved  in Russia's  nuclear                                                               
submarine program.  He said  he had an  opportunity to  meet with                                                               
Mr. Velikhov five  or six years ago when he  was working with top                                                               
Russian military  officials to design small  nuclear reactors for                                                               
northern  Russian communities,  similar  to what  Mr. Wagner  was                                                               
proposing. He  recalled that Mr.  Velikhov said Russia  was going                                                               
to have  the small nuclear reactors  ready by 2020. He  asked Mr.                                                               
Wagner if  he had  any information  as to  what Russia  and other                                                               
countries are doing with regard to developing small reactors.                                                                   
3:48:36 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  WAGNER answered  that  he does  not  have special  knowledge                                                               
about Russia's activities other  than that they recently deployed                                                               
small reactors  on ships  for mobile power  and are  developing a                                                               
variety of smaller scale reactors  for both civilian and military                                                               
SENATOR  HOFFMAN noted  that Mr.  Velikhov convinced  the Russian                                                               
government to  use a decommissioned nuclear  submarine to provide                                                               
electricity to a community. He added  that he does not know where                                                               
Russia  stands on  small nuclear  reactors, but  the concept  for                                                               
Alaska seems to be a solution.                                                                                                  
MR.  WAGNER agreed  and noted  that Russia  continues to  develop                                                               
nuclear icebreakers.                                                                                                            
He  added that  in  addition to  electricity, microreactors  have                                                               
applications  for heat,  industrial heat  and steam  for hydrogen                                                               
generation, and desalination. Microreactors  are also intended to                                                               
be more integrable with intermittent and renewable sources.                                                                     
He detailed  that Utah Associated  Municipal Power  Systems plans                                                               
to have  a reactor operating  on the Idaho  National Laboratory's                                                               
890  square   mile  property.  He   noted  that  UAMPS   will  be                                                               
demonstrating technology from the private company NuScale Power.                                                                
MR. WAGNER  turned to  slide 6 Microreactors,  noting that  as in                                                               
Russia, this  country has some  experience with  microreactors in                                                               
military and civilian applications,  but more demonstrated on the                                                               
military  side.  Rather  than  an  onsite  construction  project,                                                               
microreactors are  assembled in a  factory and power is  ready to                                                               
go once they are  plugged in onsite. He noted that  the size of a                                                               
microreactor  is  in  significant   contrast  to  the  other  two                                                               
reactors he mentioned.                                                                                                          
3:51:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BIRCH recalled  that a number of  years ago consideration                                                               
was  given to  the installation  of a  Toshiba 4S  at Galena.  He                                                               
asked if different local, state  and federal impediments stand in                                                               
the way of any installation.                                                                                                    
MR. WAGNER answered that the  Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)                                                               
regulates siting,  safety, and  security of  such systems  so any                                                               
design would need to go  through the NRC licensing process. While                                                               
the review process is largely  federal, local communities and the                                                               
state is engaged.                                                                                                               
3:53:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WAGNER  said over  the last  few years there  has been  a lot                                                               
more interest in microreactors for the purposes of:                                                                             
   • Applications that simply do not need that much energy.                                                                     
   • Power systems that may be able to operate for a decade or                                                                  
     more without refueling.                                                                                                    
   • Applications for remote communities in Alaska.                                                                             
   • Mining areas in Alaska, Canada, and South Africa.                                                                          
   • The Department of Defense (DOD) has renewed interest in                                                                    
     nuclear energy for some of their applications, including                                                                   
     remote desalination.                                                                                                       
   • Beyond electricity, addressing the needs of remote                                                                         
     installations for desalination and district heating.                                                                       
   • Power needs change and microreactors can be scaled by                                                                      
     adding more systems, similar to large batteries or diesel                                                                  
     generator replacement.                                                                                                     
3:55:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WAGNER  directed attention  to an image  from the  Los Alamos                                                               
National Laboratory  (LANL) that provides some  size perspective.                                                               
He explained that it is a  solid block core system that relies on                                                               
heat removal technologies  called heat pipes instead  of water or                                                               
other coolants. The system is roughly  12 feet long and 6 feet in                                                               
diameter with an additional  diameter representing shielding from                                                               
the system. He  noted that Westinghouse has  been working closely                                                               
with LANL and INL via their eVinci design.                                                                                      
SENATOR  COSTELLO   asked  if  the  federal   guidelines  prevent                                                               
individuals from for accessing and possessing enriched uranium.                                                                 
MR. WAGNER replied the federal  government regulates and controls                                                               
access to  all enriched uranium  so a  person with a  3-D printer                                                               
would not be able to access  the basic materials to print nuclear                                                               
fuel.  He  added  that  microreactors  rely  on  high-assay  low-                                                               
enriched  uranium and  INL  was working  on  an important  supply                                                               
chain  issue because  there are  no domestic  sources. High-assay                                                               
low-enriched uranium (LEU) contains up to 20 percent uranium.                                                                   
CHAIR BISHOP asked him or the  next presenter to get the bogeyman                                                               
out  of  the closet  and  tell  the  committee how  safe  nuclear                                                               
generation is or is not.                                                                                                        
3:58:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  WAGNER  explained  that  fission  reaction  creates  fission                                                               
products and transuranic elements, some  of which have long decay                                                               
times.  He opined  that any  nuclear  system ultimately  requires                                                               
geologic disposal of very long-life transuranic materials.                                                                      
CHAIR BISHOP asked  if the half-life is 500,000  years before the                                                               
material goes back to lead.                                                                                                     
MR. WAGNER  answered not exactly,  but it is thousands  of years.                                                               
He  added  that   one  of  the  interesting   things  about  some                                                               
microreactor  systems is  that fuel  utilization  is rather  low.                                                               
Some  of  the fuel  INL  is  considering  for the  first  reactor                                                               
demonstrations will come from  spent experimental breeder reactor                                                               
fuel where the uranium is extracted for reuse.                                                                                  
MR. WAGNER  directed attention to  an image  on slide 6  from the                                                               
company  HolosGen   that  depicts  a  microreactor   in  a  cargo                                                               
container that would support remote mining applications.                                                                        
3:59:55 PM                                                                                                                    
He  reviewed  the   following  characteristics  of  microreactors                                                               
listed on slide 7:                                                                                                              
   • Small, easily transported sources for electricity and heat                                                                 
   • Full factory built                                                                                                         
   • Easily and quickly installed and removed from site                                                                         
   • Self regulating, high degree of passive safety                                                                             
   • Reliable sources of demand-driven power                                                                                    
   • Easier to operate and require minimal operation                                                                            
   • Capable of operating for several years without refueling                                                                   
   • Designed to serve a range of energy applications                                                                           
   • Distributed to serve a range of energy applications                                                                        
   • Non-emitting sources of power                                                                                              
   • On track for demonstration within 3-5 years.                                                                               
MR. WAGNER  said unlike the  trends for the existing  large, high                                                               
power  density  reactors,  microreactors  are  designed  to  have                                                               
smaller sizes and  very low power density. That means  there is a                                                               
completely different way  of removing heat from  the reactors. In                                                               
time, microreactors  will be completely autonomous  and monitored                                                               
at  an  offsite location  as  opposed  to current  reactors  that                                                               
require dozens of  onsite operators. Many of the  designs have an                                                               
intended  operating life  of a  decade or  more. With  additional                                                               
research,  the operating  life  can be  extended  further. A  key                                                               
point is that some areas will  rely on renewable wind or solar in                                                               
concert with the non-carbon emitting microreactor system                                                                        
4:01:51 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR BIRCH asked if the fuel  for a microreactor has a density                                                               
that might attract someone interested  in aggregating the fuel to                                                               
make an explosive device.                                                                                                       
MR. WAGNER explained that microreactors  all rely on low-enriched                                                               
uranium, which  is not a  weapons-usable material. At  maximum it                                                               
contains  up  to 20  percent  uranium.  Regarding concerns  about                                                               
radiological  dispersion  devises,  he   said  the  NRC  will  be                                                               
regulating  the  safety  and  security   of  any  nuclear  system                                                               
deployed  in this  country. He  noted that  this oversite  is the                                                               
gold  standard  in  terms  of   protecting  health,  safety,  and                                                               
He   highlighted  that   your  grandparents'   reactors  have   a                                                               
significantly different physical security  presence, but what the                                                               
right  physical security  presence will  be for  microreactors to                                                               
meet the NRC requirements for  various threats will be determined                                                               
in the licensing process.                                                                                                       
4:04:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WAGNER  reported that  there is  a significant  resurgence of                                                               
interest in nuclear energy that  is largely driven by interest in                                                               
non-carbon  emitting energy.  He  directed attention  to slide  8                                                               
that highlighted the following points:                                                                                          
   • Third Way identified less than 50 companies and developing                                                                 
     advanced nuclear reactor designs                                                                                           
   • Significant private sector investment combined with                                                                        
     private-public partnerships                                                                                                
   • DOE, ARPA-E and GAIN providing resources through funding                                                                   
     opportunities and voucher program                                                                                          
   • DOE Office of Nuclear Energy Programs performing research                                                                  
     and development at National Labs to support reactor                                                                        
     development (Microreactor, Advanced Reactor Technology, and                                                                
     Cross Cutting programs)                                                                                                    
   • DOD interest in microreactors                                                                                              
He reviewed the following technology advances enabling                                                                          
microreactor development:                                                                                                       
 • Continued development of advanced reactor designs based on                                                                   
     coolants other than water                                                                                                  
 • Advancements in heat removal technologies (heat pipes) and                                                                   
     advanced,   higher-efficiency   power   conversion   systems                                                               
     (Brayton cycle, super-critical CO2 , Stirling engines)                                                                     
   • Materials with improved thermal and structural performance                                                                 
 • Development  of   advanced    modeling   and    simulation                                                                   
   • Advanced manufacturing methods simplify fabrication                                                                        
   • Space reactor development and technology demonstration                                                                     
     (KRUSTY reactor)                                                                                                           
• Investment in infrastructure to support reactor development                                                                   
     (fuel fabrication, irradiation testing)                                                                                    
MR. WAGNER reviewed the recent legislation that supports                                                                        
microreactor development listed on Slide 10:                                                                                    
   • Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA)                                                                         
        o Signed into law September 2018                                                                                        
        o Calls for the creation of a National Reactor                                                                          
          Innovation Center to support demonstration of cost-                                                                   
          shared private reactors                                                                                               
   • Nuclear Energy Leadership Act                                                                                              
     o Introduced in March by Senator Murkowski and others                                                                      
        o Calls for demonstration of two advanced reactors by                                                                   
          end of 2025, and 2-5 additional reactors by end of                                                                    
   • 2019 National Defense Authorization Act                                                                                    
        o DOE to develop a report to Congress on requirements                                                                   
          for a pilot program for microreactors                                                                                 
4:05:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WAGONER reported that the  Idaho National Laboratory is doing                                                               
a lot to support microreactor  demonstrations. He briefly touched                                                               
on some  of the  following points  on slide  11 that  outline the                                                               
support INL is able to provide:                                                                                                 
   • Proven record of nuclear facility operations                                                                               
   • Existing buildings  and  green-field  sites   for  reactor                                                                 
   • Engineering-scale  fuel     fabrication    and    advanced                                                                 
     manufacturing capabilities                                                                                                 
   • Utility connections, integrated energy systems testing                                                                     
   • Adjacent world-class  nuclear  research   and  development                                                                 
     experimental facilities and capabilities to support                                                                        
   • Common site characterization, controlled emergency planning                                                                
   • NRC-licensing and  DOE-authorization  for   facilities  as                                                                 
CHAIR BISHOP asked when the committee could visit INL to see                                                                    
what is being done in the area of microreactors.                                                                                
MR. WAGNER answered that the committee has an open invitation                                                                   
and he would be happy to work with the chair offline on                                                                         
4:06:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. WAGNER offered the following summary of the presentation:                                                                   
   • Microreactors may offer  significant advantages  for  some                                                                 
   • Microreactors have  characteristics   that  enable   rapid                                                                 
     development and deployment                                                                                                 
   • Technology advancements and  experience  provide  improved                                                                 
     reactor designs                                                                                                            
   • A U.S. advanced  reactor industry  is  developing  several                                                                 
     microreactor concepts                                                                                                      
   • Government is supporting development  through funding  and                                                                 
   • INL is   enabling   developers  by   providing   technical                                                                 
     resources, capabilities and a demonstration site                                                                           
   • A demonstration is foreseen in the next 3-5 years, meaning                                                                 
     it is time to consider applications of this emerging power                                                                 
4:08:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MARCUS NICHOL, Director, New Reactor Deployment, Nuclear Energy                                                                 
Institute, Washington, D.C., highlighted the following major                                                                    
benefits of microreactors:                                                                                                      
   • Can operate nonstop, 24 hours a  day, 7  days a  week, 365                                                                 
     days a year                                                                                                                
   • Maximum power output  that  achieves  reliability  factors                                                                 
   higher than 95 percent, some at 99.999 percent reliability                                                                   
   • Do not emit carbon  dioxide or  other criteria  pollutants                                                                 
     into the air                                                                                                               
   • One of the lowest total carbon footprints  for any  of the                                                                 
   power technologies, even lower than some of the renewables                                                                   
   • Can be paired with some other technologies in remote areas                                                                 
   • Can generate   hydrogen   for  industrial   processes   or                                                                 
   • Can produce heat  for  industrial  processes  or  district                                                                 
     heating of homes in addition to providing electricity                                                                      
   • A lot of interest for  use in  remote areas,  typically to                                                                 
     replace diesel generators                                                                                                  
   • Use in communities, industries including mines, or defense                                                                 
He  advised   that  his  presentation  will   cover  the  typical                                                               
questions he receives about microreactors  such as when will they                                                               
be  available,  how  much  will  they  cost,  and  what  are  the                                                               
challenges to these reactors becoming a reality.                                                                                
4:10:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. NICHOL displayed the Deployment Timeline from an October                                                                    
2018 report that the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) developed.                                                                  
He made the following points:                                                                                                   
   • The timeline  was  developed  specifically   with  defense                                                                 
     installation in mind.                                                                                                      
   • The timeline is applicable to a remote community or mining                                                                 
   • To deploy a commercial microreactor will take  about seven                                                                 
   • A demonstration reactor will take three to five years.                                                                     
   • A commercial microreactor must go through a  more involved                                                                 
     check process because it will be producing power for                                                                       
     commercial purposes.                                                                                                       
   • The first microreactor could be deployed before the end of                                                                 
   • The timeline could be earlier or  longer depending  on the                                                                 
     challenges during deployment.                                                                                              
   • The critical path that dictates  the timeline  schedule is                                                                 
     driven largely by the NRC licensing and the construction                                                                   
     and fabrication of the microreactor itself.                                                                                
   • Fuel development and the fuel cycle much be considered.                                                                    
        o Many of the advanced microreactors will use fuel that                                                                 
          is not typically used in today's light water reactors.                                                                
        o The NRC is very stringent on the fuel requirements                                                                    
          because it is a key component to the safety basis of                                                                  
          the reactor.                                                                                                          
        o The NRC wants to see a lot of testing data to support                                                                 
          the safety basis, but the data takes a lot of time to                                                                 
          develop to prove to the NRC that it is safe.                                                                          
        o While fuel development is not considered the critical                                                                 
          path, the process is considered a secondary critical                                                                  
          path that could extend the schedule if it isn't                                                                       
          addressed in a timely manner.                                                                                         
4:13:05 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. NICHOL  discussed the following  estimated costs  outlined on                                                               
slide 4:                                                                                                                        
   • Diesel generator costs                                                                                                     
        o Primarily fuel costs                                                                                                  
        o Fuel from $2.86/gallon to $4.89/gallon                                                                                
   • Microreactor costs                                                                                                         
        o Include used fuel disposal and decommissioning                                                                        
        o 10-year fuel life                                                                                                     
        o 40-year plant life                                                                                                    
        o 95 percent capacity factor                                                                                            
MR. NICHOL  said the NEI  finding that microreactors can  be cost                                                               
competitive  with  diesel  generators  is based  on  a  2019  NEI                                                               
report. It looked  at the cost of  microreactors with sensitivity                                                               
analysis to  better understand the  different cost  components as                                                               
well  as   competitiveness  in  different  markets.   The  diesel                                                               
generator costs  are for  not just  remote Arctic  communities in                                                               
Alaska, they include remote areas and islands as well.                                                                          
MR. NICHOL said NEI found  that the first microreactor could cost                                                               
somewhere between $0.14 and $0.41  per kilowatt hour (kWh), which                                                               
would be competitive with diesel  generators in the remote areas.                                                               
NEI believes  this is a positive  finding because first-of-a-kind                                                               
technology typically is  more expensive and has  a difficult time                                                               
competing  in  the  market.  In   this  case,  microreactors  are                                                               
expected  to  be cost  competitive  from  the start.  Ultimately,                                                               
costs could  come down to  between $0.09  and $0.30 per  kWh. The                                                               
diesel  generator costs  were primarily  estimated based  on fuel                                                               
cost in the range of $2.86  and $4.89 per gallon. Those are costs                                                               
that have been  seen in the remote markets over  the past several                                                               
He  pointed  out that  microreactor  costs  include the  cost  of                                                               
disposing  of the  used fuel,  decommissioning  and removing  the                                                               
reactor, and returning  the location to what is referred  to as a                                                               
green field.  He said  not many technologies  include the  end of                                                               
life costs in  their models, but NEI does. The  law dictates that                                                               
the  industry  pays for  decommissioning  costs  up-front and  as                                                               
operations are performed.                                                                                                       
MR.  NICHOL  concurred with  Mr.  Wagner  that microreactors  are                                                               
expected to operate  for 10 years without the  need for refueling                                                               
from offsite.  He said this  is a key attribute  of microreactors                                                               
that other technologies typically do not have.                                                                                  
4:16:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP remarked that the  diesel fuel price in rural Alaska                                                               
are double  those that were  quoted so microreactors would  be in                                                               
the money very quickly in rural Alaska.                                                                                         
MR. NICHOL  replied that a  lot of  benefits can be  derived from                                                               
the lower costs of microreactors. If  the cost of energy is less,                                                               
remote  communities will  be able  to use  their money  for other                                                               
needs. Having lower energy costs  also makes industrial processes                                                               
more competitive. Microreactors will  make mines more profitable,                                                               
operate longer, and make lower grade ores more profitable.                                                                      
CHAIR  BISHOP commented  that he  would think  that environmental                                                               
groups would embrace  microreactors as a means of  taking tons of                                                               
carbon out of the atmosphere.                                                                                                   
MR. NICHOL answered that many,  but not all, environmental groups                                                               
embrace  nuclear energy.  The Union  of Concerned  Scientists has                                                               
expressed  support for  the existing  fleet of  nuclear reactors,                                                               
but they  have not expressed  support for the  advanced reactors.                                                               
The  Nature  Conservancy has  expressed  support  for nuclear  to                                                               
address climate change. They have  suggested that to meet climate                                                               
change  goals, nuclear  power  generation in  the  U.S. needs  to                                                               
increase from  20 to  30 percent. It  is broadly  recognized that                                                               
nuclear  energy needs  to  be  part of  the  solution if  climate                                                               
change is going to be addressed.                                                                                                
4:19:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  NICHOL  explained  that the  Nuclear  Regulatory  Commission                                                               
(NRC)  sets very  high safety  and security  standards for  these                                                               
reactors as part  of its regulation of the  nuclear industry. The                                                               
safety requirements are  set based on protecting  the public from                                                               
the hazards of  radiation. What that typically means  is the core                                                               
needs to be kept cool. Step  one in helping to protect the public                                                               
is that microreactors have less  radioactive material than larger                                                               
reactors. Second, many  microreactor designs incorporate advanced                                                               
techniques and features  that will allow heat to  be removed from                                                               
the core and remain cool indefinitely,  even if there is no power                                                               
or additional cooling water. He  noted that the inability to keep                                                               
the core cool  was a cause for the Fukushima  Daiichi accident in                                                               
2011.  By  comparison,  microreactors  are  being  designed  with                                                               
inherent natural physics that will keep the core cool.                                                                          
MR.  NICHOL said  the NRC  sets very  high standards  for nuclear                                                               
plant  security   based  on  the  design-basis   threat  for  the                                                               
facility.  The  federal  government   in  consultation  with  the                                                               
Department   of  Homeland   Security   and   others  define   the                                                               
adversarial characteristics  these nuclear  power plants  must be                                                               
protected  against. He  said the  current reactors  are protected                                                               
with a  large number of security  guards to prevent the  bad guys                                                               
from doing  any harm.  He noted  that some  of the  more advanced                                                               
reactors will have security built into the design itself.                                                                       
MR.  NICHOL   stated  that  the   NRC  could  safely   license  a                                                               
microreactor today  but the current regulations  are designed for                                                               
the  very different  technology of  large, light  water reactors.                                                               
The current  regulations could require  some things that  are not                                                               
necessary for microreactors. He said  NEI believes that there are                                                               
a  number of  areas where  the NRC  requirements could  be right-                                                               
sized to better fit the microreactor technology.                                                                                
4:23:12 PM                                                                                                                    
He continued  to discuss  the following  regulatory opportunities                                                               
listed on slide 5:                                                                                                              
   • Right-size requirements                                                                                                    
        o Emergency preparedness                                                                                                
             square4 Large reactors today have 10-mile emergency                                                                
               planning zones. These are area where emergency                                                                   
               procedures need to be preplanned.                                                                                
             square4 Because of the size and safety of microreactors,                                                           
               there is almost no risk to the general public for                                                                
               offsite release of radiation.                                                                                    
             square4 It could be that it would not be necessary to                                                              
               preplan the emergency preparedness. There would                                                                  
               still be the capability of having emergency                                                                      
               response, but without an advance preplan.                                                                        
        o Security                                                                                                              
             square4 This is being built into the plant itself in                                                               
               order to reduce the number of required security                                                                  
             square4 The different posture on security would be able                                                            
               to rely on the local law enforcement to help with                                                                
               a threat.                                                                                                        
        o Siting                                                                                                                
             square4 The current siting regulations are very specific                                                           
               regarding how close reactors can be located to                                                                   
               population centers.                                                                                              
             square4 The enhanced safety of microreactors will make it                                                          
               possible to locate closer to towns, especially if                                                                
              the heat is used for heating homes.                                                                               
        o Staffing                                                                                                              
             square4 Staffing needs for microreactors are not the same                                                          
               as large, light water reactors.                                                                                  
             square4 Make sure staffing is appropriate, especially for                                                          
               microreactors that have the capability of                                                                        
               automatic operations.                                                                                            
4:24:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP  asked if  he was talking  about cogeneration,  so a                                                               
village could  get electricity  and have  a distribution  for hot                                                               
water as well.                                                                                                                  
MR. NICHOL answered yes. He  added that pairing transportation to                                                               
either hydrogen  or electric generation  could eliminate  the use                                                               
of fossil fuels as well.                                                                                                        
MR.   NICHOL   returned   to   the   discussion   of   regulatory                                                               
opportunities.  He highlighted  the following  about streamlining                                                               
   • Streamline reviews                                                                                                         
        o It may take the NRC three years to review the                                                                         
          application and safety basis for the reactor, but that                                                                
          may possibly be reduced to two years.                                                                                 
        o One of the challenges is the environmental timeline.                                                                  
        o Environmental                                                                                                         
             square4 There are opportunities to  streamline   the                                                               
               environmental review as well for microreactors to                                                                
               reduce the timelines.                                                                                            
        o Safety                                                                                                                
SENATOR  BIRCH  asked   if  the  size  and  power   output  of  a                                                               
microreactor  is equivalent  to  the reactor  used  on a  nuclear                                                               
MR. NICHOL replied the physical size  is roughly the same, but he                                                               
didn't know about the power output equivalency.                                                                                 
4:27:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. NICHOL reviewed the federal  policy opportunities outlined on                                                               
slide 6:                                                                                                                        
   • Support clarification of the technical basis                                                                               
        o Cross-cutting R&D                                                                                                     
        o Demonstrations.                                                                                                       
   • Support deployment                                                                                                         
        o Power purchase agreements                                                                                             
        o Loan guarantees                                                                                                       
        o Fuel                                                                                                                  
        o Supply chain.                                                                                                         
   • Fulfill used fuel responsibilities.                                                                                        
He explained that the federal  government is looking at modifying                                                               
its power purchase agreements to  make it easier to procure power                                                               
from microreactors. He described this  as an important change for                                                               
DOD installations.                                                                                                              
MR. NICHOL explained that there  is no commercial domestic supply                                                               
for low-enriched  uranium because  there hasn't been  any demand.                                                               
That  won't  change  until  microreactors  or  advanced  reactors                                                               
demand that fuel,  but there won't be those  reactors without the                                                               
fuel. It's a  chicken and egg situation. He  highlighted that DOE                                                               
appears to  be willing  to step  in and  provide a  bridge supply                                                               
until the commercial supply develops.                                                                                           
He said it is the  federal government's responsibility to dispose                                                               
of  used  fuel. A  final  disposal  place  for nuclear  waste  is                                                               
located at Yucca Mountain in Nevada.  A lot of work has gone into                                                               
proving the site's technical and  safety basis for nuclear waste.                                                               
It is  funded by the  industry. He  noted that the  Nuclear Waste                                                               
Fund has over  $30 billion, but appropriations  for nuclear waste                                                               
activities continues to be a political issue.                                                                                   
4:28:53 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  NICHOL reviewed  the  following  state policy  opportunities                                                               
listed on slide 7:                                                                                                              
   • Equal treatment with other generation sources                                                                              
        o Clean energy policies                                                                                                 
        o Reducing barriers to entry                                                                                            
   • Support the formation of an industrial base:                                                                               
        o Lower financing barriers,                                                                                             
        o Incentives for supply chain.                                                                                          
   • Provide infrastructure support:                                                                                            
        o Training,                                                                                                             
        o Transportation improvements.                                                                                          
   • Foster stakeholder engagement.                                                                                             
He said there  are opportunities at the state level  as well. The                                                               
first is  equal treatment with  other energy  generation sources,                                                               
especially  in the  area of  clean energy  policies that  address                                                               
climate change. Clean energy should  include nuclear power. A lot                                                               
of places  are focused  strictly on  renewable energy  to address                                                               
climate change,  but nuclear  power is  important in  the climate                                                               
change arena and should not be excluded.                                                                                        
He  opined  that  another  state-level  opportunity  is  reducing                                                               
barriers  to entry.  He  noted  that in  2010,  the Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature  passed  Senate Bill  220  (SB  220) that  removed  a                                                               
moratorium  on nuclear  power in  the state  and allowed  nuclear                                                               
projects to gain access to funding.                                                                                             
MR. NICHOL  said supporting the  formation of an  industrial base                                                               
is  a state-level  opportunity. If  Alaska is  looking at  having                                                               
microreactors  deployed  in  remote areas,  attracting  a  supply                                                               
chain  makes sense.  The state  could help  by incentivizing  the                                                               
supply chain and lowering financial barriers as well.                                                                           
He opined  that supporting infrastructure is  another state-level                                                               
opportunity. Supporting  infrastructure includes  training people                                                               
who might work  at a microreactor and others who  may work within                                                               
the  microreactor  industry.  Perhaps  even  more  important  for                                                               
remote applications is transportation  improvements for roads and                                                               
bridges.  Many  of the  microreactors  will  be small  enough  to                                                               
transport by truck, rail, or C-17 aircraft.                                                                                     
MR. NICHOL  said the final  state-level opportunity is  to foster                                                               
stakeholder engagement, especially in  remote areas. There may be                                                               
a  lack  of nuclear  understanding,  so  fostering engagement  is                                                               
important to address concerns and perspectives.                                                                                 
MR.  NICHOL concluded  saying that  Alaska  is not  alone in  its                                                               
interest in microreactors.  There are international opportunities                                                               
as well. Canada issued a roadmap  in 2018 to address its interest                                                               
in microreactors for Arctic communities and mining operations.                                                                  
CHAIR BISHOP thanked Mr. Nichol  and announced that the committee                                                               
will next hear from Gwen Holdmann and George Roe.                                                                               
GEORGE  ROE,  Manager,  Arctic  Remote  Energy  Networks  Academy                                                               
Manager, Alaska  Center for Energy  and Power  (ACEP), University                                                               
of  Alaska-Fairbanks, Fairbanks,  Alaska  introduced himself  and                                                               
said  he  and Ms.  Holdmann  would  provide some  background  and                                                               
recent information on nuclear microreactors and Alaska.                                                                         
4:32:44 PM                                                                                                                    
GWEN  HOLDMANN, Director,  Alaska  Center for  Energy and  Power,                                                               
University  of  Alaska  Fairbanks, Fairbanks,  Alaska,  said  she                                                               
would  provide  the background  on  what  the Alaska  Center  for                                                               
Energy  and Power  (ACEP) has  done and  Mr. Mr.  Roe would  talk                                                               
about the workshop they attended last week.                                                                                     
She explained that ACEP was formed  11 years ago with the mission                                                               
to  perform  research on  energy  systems  that are  relevant  to                                                               
Alaska,  both now  and in  the future.  ACEP is  a mission-driven                                                               
organization that  works closely with communities  and industries                                                               
that  have technologies  that could  potentially  be relevant  to                                                               
MS.   HOLDMANN  stated   that   ACEP   is  constantly   assessing                                                               
opportunities for new technologies  from other markets, providing                                                               
information   to  policy   and  decision   makers  and   industry                                                               
representatives about  the Alaska  market, and ensuring  that the                                                               
organization's use-cases  are considered.  For example,  ACEP has                                                               
been advising  microreactor companies on a  technical level about                                                               
Alaska use-cases.                                                                                                               
She reviewed the following discussion topics on slide 3:                                                                        
   • Highlights from prior (2010-2011) study of small modular                                                                   
   • Observations from April 18, 2019 workshop.                                                                                 
   • Proposed next steps.                                                                                                       
4:34:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HOLDMANN  reviewed the following  points on slide  4, Context                                                               
for 2010 Study  on SMR's, Small Modular Nuclear  Power: an option                                                               
for Alaska?                                                                                                                     
   • Requested by Alaska State Legislature in 2009.                                                                             
    • Response to 2008 Global oil price spike that exposed                                                                      
     vulnerabilities of Alaska to annual (and intra-annual)                                                                     
     fluctuations in oil prices.                                                                                                
• Interest in solutions that can provide baseload power (many                                                                   
     remote locations only have access to intermittent                                                                          
 • Interest in options that can offset heating loads as well                                                                    
     as electric power.                                                                                                         
  • Fukushima disaster occurred the same month the study was                                                                    
She explained  that the 2010 study  was an opportunity to  take a                                                               
comprehensive look  at small modular  reactors which at  the time                                                               
was what was being considered for potential use in Alaska.                                                                      
MS. HOLDMANN  said the  2010 report  was a  collaboration between                                                               
the University of  Alaska Fairbanks and the  University of Alaska                                                               
Anchorage.  She detailed  that she  was  the lead  author of  the                                                               
report. Contributors  to the report  included Dr.  Dennis Witmer,                                                               
materials  engineer;  Dr.   Frank  Williams,  chemical  engineer;                                                               
University of Alaska students; and  economists from the Institute                                                               
for Social and Economic Research (ISER).                                                                                        
4:36:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HOLDMANN  detailed  that  the  2010  study  started  out  by                                                               
reviewing  the  history  of  nuclear  technology  utilization  in                                                               
Alaska. The most  well-known is the 2  megawatt reactor installed                                                               
at Fort  Greely as  part of  the Army  Nuclear Power  Program. It                                                               
operated  for about  a decade.  Several similar  modular reactors                                                               
were installed  in various places  including the  McMurdo Station                                                               
in  Antarctica. It  was decommissioned  at the  same time  as the                                                               
unit  at Fort  Greely. Other  examples of  nuclear technology  in                                                               
Alaska include  the seismic monitoring station  at Burnt Mountain                                                               
north of  Fort Yukon. It used  small radioisotopes thermoelectric                                                               
generators   that  allowed   the  station   to  monitor   Russian                                                               
underground nuclear testing.                                                                                                    
She said there are examples  of actual nuclear activity in Alaska                                                               
related to  the weapons. Amchitka  was the site in  the Aleutians                                                               
where  three underground  nuclear tests  were performed.  One was                                                               
the largest in the United  States. Project Chariot was considered                                                               
between  1958-1962 to  demonstrate  the peaceful  use of  nuclear                                                               
explosives  for  major  construction projects.  However,  it  was                                                               
proposed before  there was an understanding  of the environmental                                                               
impact and  potential impact to  the food chain  from radioactive                                                               
4:38:29 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HOLDMANN turned  to slide  7,  Representative Small  Reactor                                                               
Sizes and Operating  Temperatures. She noted that  when the study                                                               
came  out, reactor  technology  at  the time  was  very large  by                                                               
Alaska standards.  The Toshiba 4S  Project that was  proposed for                                                               
Galena was of  real interest because the 10  megawatt reactor was                                                               
a  smaller scale  that was  potentially relevant  to Alaska.  She                                                               
said she believes  that is why it generated so  much interest and                                                               
discussion at the time.                                                                                                         
She said  slide 8  shows a slice  of the  microreactor technology                                                               
that is  being considered  today. This  is smaller,  lower outlet                                                               
temperature technology that  was not on the drawing  board at the                                                               
time  of  the   2010  study.  She  noted  that   the  number  one                                                               
recommendation from  the 2010  study was  to continue  to explore                                                               
options  for smaller  than 10  megawatt  reactor technology.  She                                                               
quoted from the 2010 report:                                                                                                    
     There  virtually is  no market  niche for  mini nuclear                                                                    
     power  reactor technology  in the  contiguous U.S.  and                                                                    
     therefore little effort has  been made to commercialize                                                                    
     a product in  this size range. None the  less, there is                                                                    
     a real  potential here  and this is  what we  should be                                                                    
She said that is why ACEP  is excited to address the committee on                                                               
current smaller scale reactor technology.                                                                                       
MS. HOLDMANN explained  that the Alaska map on slide  9 shows the                                                               
hub communities in  Alaska based on the  economics of potentially                                                               
deploying a  reactor. She  said a real  challenge that  makes the                                                               
2010  study obsolete  is that  it looked  at reactors  in the  45                                                               
megawatt  range.  That  is  uneconomic  even  in  Alaska's  rural                                                               
communities  where  energy  costs   are  high  because  it's  not                                                               
possible to  use all  the electrical and  thermal energy  that is                                                               
produced.  That's  still an  issue  today  for the  small  module                                                               
reactors even if the prices are  in the $0.14 to $0.17 range that                                                               
Mr. Nichol mentioned and the  heat and power output is maximized.                                                               
However, possibilities are greater with these microreactors.                                                                    
4:41:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HOLDMANN displayed  the bar graph on slide 10  that shows the                                                               
local  price   thresholds  for  small  module   reactor  economic                                                               
feasibility. She  explained that  most of this  work was  done by                                                               
ISER  but   the  numbers  aren't   accurate  today   because  the                                                               
additional  cost  for  the combined  construction  and  operating                                                               
license would  more than  double the  installed cost  estimate in                                                               
2010. However,  the relative size  of the bars for  the different                                                               
communities  is  relevant.  For  example,  the  smallest  bar  is                                                               
Fairbanks,  which  means  that community  is  the  best  economic                                                               
opportunity  for   displacing  existing  sources  of   fuel.  She                                                               
reminded the  committee that the work  in 2010 was based  on a 45                                                               
megawatt  reactor and  since the  current  talk is  about a  much                                                               
smaller  reactor,  the  communities  such  as  Bethel  that  have                                                               
smaller loads  would probably  look much  better if  the analysis                                                               
was redone.  She suggested  that updating  the analysis  would be                                                               
worth doing in the near future.                                                                                                 
4:42:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HOLDMANN  reviewed the  report findings  listed on  slide 11.                                                               
She said one  finding was that most of the  proposed designs were                                                               
quite large  by Alaska  standards. Another  finding was  that the                                                               
technology is not  mature. Both of the  previous speakers alluded                                                               
to  the fact  that microreactor  technology is  moving along  and                                                               
there  is likely  to be  a  demonstration at  the Idaho  National                                                               
Laboratory  in  the  next  several  years.  However,  it  is  not                                                               
something that  can be purchased  off the shelf and  installed in                                                               
Alaska  in the  next five  years.  At best  it will  be a  decade                                                               
before  microreactor   technology  is  available   so  investment                                                               
decisions can't  be made today.  She suggested taking a  wait and                                                               
see approach. She also pointed  out that there are limitations as                                                               
to   which  sites   would  be   available  for   deploying  small                                                               
microreactors  in   Alaska.  A  low  price   point  will  require                                                               
maximizing the  base load  system for  the electric  power output                                                               
and the heat output and those  are more difficult to modulate for                                                               
nuclear systems than for diesel generators.                                                                                     
4:44:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HOLDMANN  displayed  the decision  making  chart  that  ACEP                                                               
developed  in 2010  for a  pilot project  in Alaska  for a  small                                                               
scale  modular nuclear  system. She  said she  believes that  the                                                               
chart is  still relevant. She  explained that ACEP  established a                                                               
set  of stage  gates with  yes and  no decision  points that  ask                                                               
whether   the  technology   exists,   is   safe,  has   potential                                                               
significant environmental concerns, and is economic.                                                                            
4:45:15 PM                                                                                                                    
She directed  attention to slide  12 and explained that  ACEP has                                                               
tried to follow through on the  action items that came out of the                                                               
2010  report.  ACEP  continues   to  maintain  active  monitoring                                                               
efforts  of  nuclear  technology  and  the  industry  by  sending                                                               
interns to work  in the INL. ACEP has  also advised manufacturers                                                               
or  potential  developers of  the  Alaska  market. The  following                                                               
action items came out of the study:                                                                                             
   1. Maintain active monitoring effort to stay abreast of                                                                      
     developments in the nuclear power industry.                                                                                
   2. Provide input to NRC on unique needs, circumstances in                                                                    
   3. Identify mechanism to address ownership/insurance issue.                                                                  
   4. Remove technical and siting barriers in state statutes.                                                                   
   5. Explore options for small scale (10 megawatts or less)                                                                    
     reactor technology.                                                                                                        
SENATOR HOFFMAN asked what the initial  cost of the study was and                                                               
whether she thought it needed to be updated.                                                                                    
MS. HOLDMANN  answered that $200,000  was directed to  the Alaska                                                               
Energy Authority  (AEA) for the  study and  ACEP did most  of the                                                               
work.  She  opined  that  updating  the  study  would  be  pretty                                                               
fantastic.  ACEP has  the  framework in  place  for the  economic                                                               
analysis which could  be used to provide an  updated look through                                                               
the lens  of the smaller  technologies. That shouldn't  take much                                                               
time and probably wouldn't be too expensive.                                                                                    
SENATOR HOFFMAN thanked her for all  the work she has done on the                                                               
CHAIR BISHOP invited Mr. Roe to continue the presentation.                                                                      
4:47:03 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. ROE  said he  would provide  a brief  update on  the workshop                                                               
that  he and  Ms. Holdmann  attended  in Anchorage  on April  18,                                                               
2019. The  goal was for  a cross section of  Alaskan perspectives                                                               
and interests to gather and learn  from the experts and then play                                                               
that  against what  Alaska needs  for a  cogeneration system  for                                                               
both  thermal  and  electrical  energy   to  meet  the  needs  of                                                               
industry,  perhaps small  communities, and  certainly larger  hub                                                               
communities.  The   participants  then   explored  the   kind  of                                                               
engagement, if any, Alaska should  have with these pilot studies.                                                               
The intention was to provide  a record for industry to understand                                                               
what Alaska cares  about in terms of  microreactor technology and                                                               
its integration.                                                                                                                
MR.  ROE directed  attention to  the slide  that illustrates  and                                                               
lists the  multiple and diverse  stakeholders that  ACEP gathered                                                               
from across  the state. They  represented the  different regions,                                                               
economic  drivers, and  people who  care for  the state  from the                                                               
perspective of the people and place.  He said the response to the                                                               
invitations was so overwhelming that  a virtual meeting was added                                                               
to accommodate the interest.                                                                                                    
4:48:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  ROE explained  that the  stakeholders tried  to discern  the                                                               
logical place to  start if microreactors were to  come to Alaska.                                                               
The consensus  was that a  stationary reactor would be  the right                                                               
approach. He  explained that  stationary does  not mean  that the                                                               
installation  would be  there forever,  just  that it  is not  on                                                               
wheels.  The  focus  was  on   something  that  would  provide  a                                                               
continuous level  of baseload power. He  noted that microreactors                                                               
have more  inertia than  a diesel generator  so they  will likely                                                               
need to  be paired  with thermal or  electrical storage  to allow                                                               
the  system   to  run  without   cycling  beyond   their  initial                                                               
He said the  exact mix of thermal and electric  power will depend                                                               
on whether the  intent is to generate hydrogen  or power electric                                                               
vehicles in  addition to more  conventional loads. He  noted that                                                               
ACEP  received  U.S.  Economic Development  Administration  (EDA)                                                               
funds to do  a study for a small reactor  company. They have been                                                               
looking at the  generator sizes in many small  communities to see                                                               
what the logical  pairing might be. He said ACEP  has been paying                                                               
attention  to the  communities that  have existing  heat recovery                                                               
systems  because in  addition to  electrical,  they are  familiar                                                               
with how  to run thermal  energy in their  community environment.                                                               
This   is  very   important,  especially   in  areas   that  have                                                               
MR. ROE  said the logical progression  seems to be to  start in a                                                               
fairly controlled setting such as  a military base. The next step                                                               
would be  to move  to a larger  industrial or  institutional site                                                               
that also  needs large amounts  of heat  and power. One  of these                                                               
systems can be  integrated into a larger system so  that there is                                                               
no single thread dependence on  a particular system. He said ACEP                                                               
has looked that  the assets at various military  bases that might                                                               
accommodate  integration and  several  locations  in Alaska  have                                                               
expressed interest publicly in this technology.                                                                                 
He said  mining is  an interesting  application in  Alaska. These                                                               
are very controlled, small, isolated  sites with fairly low risks                                                               
and they need large amounts of  power and heat. Several people at                                                               
the workshop  stated on the  record that  the cost of  energy was                                                               
limiting  the development  of the  resource. He  said that  is an                                                               
interesting statement that should be considered looking forward.                                                                
MR.  ROE  highlighted that  ACEP  facilitated  discussion at  the                                                               
workshop  by   asking  different   groups  what  they   would  be                                                               
interested in doing  if they had a source of  heat and power that                                                               
was small, compact,  and could be installed  without much effort.                                                               
He said  he boiled  the three  pages of  suggestions down  to the                                                               
following points:                                                                                                               
        • Stakeholder consultation                                                                                              
        • Assess reliability, safety, environmental risks                                                                       
        • Determine siting requirements                                                                                         
        • Characterize regulatory and policy environment                                                                        
        • Incorporate cradle-to-cradle thinking                                                                                 
        • Develop integrated commercialization roadmap                                                                          
        • Monitor industry / regulatory developments                                                                            
        • Incorporate Alaska interests and use cases in any                                                                     
          microreactor pilot program(s)                                                                                         
The most important  point that came back from  the various groups                                                               
was that people wanted to make sure stakeholders were consulted.                                                                
4:52:49 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   GRAY-JACKSON  asked   if   the  stakeholders   included                                                               
representatives  from  Chugiak  Electric and  Municipal  Light  &                                                               
Power (ML&P).                                                                                                                   
MR.  ROE  answered  yes;  he named  the  individuals  from  those                                                               
utilities as well as from Matanuska Electric Association (MEA).                                                                 
He said the other thing that  was important to the various groups                                                               
was to have  the risks of a nuclear  accident well characterized.                                                               
That is  part of  the siting  requirements that  is based  on the                                                               
size   of   the   reactor   and   geo-technology,   among   other                                                               
MR.  ROE  noted that  one  of  the  voices from  Nome  encouraged                                                               
cradle-to-cradle  thinking  so  consideration is  given  to  what                                                               
happens when the  reactor is shut down. He said  the intent is to                                                               
keep  from creating  a problem  for communities  by understanding                                                               
the technology  and staying informed  using the roadmap  that Ms.                                                               
Holdmann  shared. He  said  NEI has  released  two documents  and                                                               
Canada  has developed  roadmaps for  microreactors that  are very                                                               
MR. ROE  said the bottom line  is that wherever a  pilot study is                                                               
done, for  example the demonstration  reactor at INL in  2026, it                                                               
is important to ensure that  Alaska-use cases are incorporated so                                                               
ACEP can  help with the design  to get as much  value as possible                                                               
out of the pilot. Wherever the  pilots may be, Alaska needs to be                                                               
at the table.                                                                                                                   
4:55:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP opined  that Alaska would be the premier  spot for a                                                               
test  drive   because  the  Arctic  nations   are  a  target-rich                                                               
environment for microreactors.                                                                                                  
MR. ROE concurred.  He said it's important  to proceed carefully,                                                               
but the  benefits of affordable  heat and power changes  the game                                                               
for so many different perspectives.                                                                                             
He suggested  the committee visit  the Idaho  National Laboratory                                                               
on June 18, 2019 when there  is a by-invitation workshop in Idaho                                                               
Falls. He disclosed  that the INL is in the  process of reviewing                                                               
a proposal  from the  University of Alaska  Anchorage to  look at                                                               
the Alaska  microreactor study. It focuses  on public perception,                                                               
the use  cases, and deeper-dive  case studies  so it should  be a                                                               
very useful update to the 2010-2011 study.                                                                                      
CHAIR BISHOP  thanked the presenters  and recognized  Mr. Michael                                                               
Pawlowski, Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.                                                                      
4:58:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  PAWLOWSKI, Chief  of Staff,  United States  Senator Lisa                                                               
Murkowski of  Alaska, Washington,  D.C., said the  senator thanks                                                               
the committee  for looking  at the  potential for  nuclear energy                                                               
for Alaska, the  U.S., and ultimately the world.  He related that                                                               
Senator Murkowski  has been  the leader on  the federal  level of                                                               
advancing nuclear power  for the past several years.  In 2016 she                                                               
held a hearing  to understand what was happening  in the advanced                                                               
nuclear  realm.  Stakeholders  at   that  time  agreed  that  the                                                               
Department of Energy (DOE) needed  some policy changes to get the                                                               
federal government to work better with the private sector.                                                                      
MR. PAWLOWSKI said Senator Murkowski  included the Nuclear Energy                                                               
Innovation and  Capabilities Act (NEICA) in  the broad bipartisan                                                               
energy  bill that  she sponsored  with U.S.  Senator Cantwell  in                                                               
2016. She continued  to work the legislation until  it was signed                                                               
into  law  in  2018.  Once   the  law  is  implemented,  it  will                                                               
accelerate the development path for deploying the technology.                                                                   
He  said Senator  Murkowski's colleagues  also completed  work on                                                               
the  regulatory  side. The  regulatory  oversight  that the  U.S.                                                               
Nuclear Regulatory  Commission (NRC) provides is  very beneficial                                                               
for reactor safety,  but it can be a burden  to innovators in the                                                               
industry.  The   nuclear  regulatory  framework  that   has  been                                                               
developed  over  the  decades is  specifically  tailored  to  the                                                               
large,  light water  reactor technology,  which  is a  regulatory                                                               
mold that  microreactors do  not fit.  He said  microreactors are                                                               
inherently safe if  there is a shutdown and  inherently secure so                                                               
they may not  need the massive and expensive  security force that                                                               
the  current  reactors  require.  To  deal  with  this  challenge                                                               
Congress adopted the Nuclear  Energy Innovation Modernization Act                                                               
(NEIMA).  It requires  the NRC  to create  a sensible  regulatory                                                               
pathway specifically  for advanced reactors. He  stated that this                                                               
should  speed   the  process  for   approval  and   decrease  the                                                               
regulatory cost  of advanced reactors  all while  ensuring world-                                                               
class levels of reactor safety.                                                                                                 
5:00:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PAWLOWSKI  also mentioned the  Nuclear Energy  Leadership Act                                                               
(NELA) that  is a bipartisan  effort to allow  nuclear developers                                                               
to  successfully  move  their concepts  through  the  challenging                                                               
developmental phases  to full commercial deployment.  He said the                                                               
Senate Energy Committee has scheduled  an oversite hearing on the                                                               
bill  next week  so  the Alaska  Community  and Regional  Affairs                                                               
Committee efforts are timely.                                                                                                   
MR. PAWLOWSKI  said the ultimate point  he would like to  make is                                                               
the  importance   of  fostering  stakeholder   engagement.  While                                                               
Senator  Murkowski is  working  on the  different  issues at  the                                                               
federal  level, she  deeply appreciates  the committee  diving in                                                               
and looking at what might need to be done at the state level.                                                                   
5:03:29 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HOFFMAN  said he  believes  it  would be  beneficial  to                                                               
include   a   section  in   the   NELA   legislation  about   how                                                               
microreactors   can  reduce   energy  costs   in  rural   Alaska,                                                               
potentially as a demonstration project.  He agreed with the chair                                                               
that Alaska would  be ideal to implement  a microreactor project.                                                               
It  would be  a  game  changer for  rural  Alaska.  He asked  Mr.                                                               
Pawlowski to convey his comments to Senator Murkowski.                                                                          
CHAIR  BISHOP asked  Mr.  Pawlowski  to reach  out  if there  was                                                               
anything the  committee could do  to help Senator  Murkowski move                                                               
NELA forward.                                                                                                                   
MR.  PAWLOWSKI  said  he  would  convey  Senator  Hoffman's  very                                                               
important points  and work to see  if language could be  added to                                                               
the  legislation  for the  types  of  demonstration projects  and                                                               
partnerships that Senator Hoffman mentioned.                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP thanked the presenters.                                                                                            
5:07:20 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Bishop adjourned the Senate Community and Regional Affairs                                                                
Standing Committee meeting at 5:07 p.m.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CRA-Hearing_Microreactors_Wagner.pdf SCRA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
NEI-Micro-reactor- Nichol.pdf SCRA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
UAF_ACEP_HoldmannRoe.pdf SCRA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
Murkowski_ADN Op Ed.pdf SCRA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
Murkowski_CNN Op Ed.pdf SCRA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
Murkowski_WashingtonExaminer Op Ed.pdf SCRA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
2019 NELA - Fact Sheet.pdf SCRA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
2019 NELA - Section-by-Section.pdf SCRA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM
S.97 NEICA.pdf SCRA 4/25/2019 3:30:00 PM