The Department of Defense (DoD) has announced the publishing of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the construction and demonstration of a prototype mobile micro-nuclear reactor dubbed Project Pele. The reactor, DoD said, would be capable of producing between 1 and 5 megawatts of electrical power.

The Final EIS was developed through DoD’s Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO), along with the Department of Energy (DOE).

“The Final EIS, prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), analyzes the potential environmental consequences of the proposed construction and demonstration of a prototype advanced mobile nuclear microreactor to support DoD domestic and operational energy demands,” the EIS states.

“The Proposed Action includes construction of the prototype microreactor and demonstration activities at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) using DOE technical expertise and facilities at the Materials and Fuels Complex (MFC) and Critical Infrastructure Test Range Complex (CITRC),” it said.

According to the statement, DoD is one of the largest energy users in the world, and the agency needs its installations to reduce its current reliance on local electric grids and diesel-fueled generators. This joint effort will make use of DOE expertise, material, laboratories, and authority to construct and demonstrate this prototype microreactor.

DoD established a website to allow SCO to share public information during the EIS process, and provide EIS documents, EIS scheduling, and EEIS public hearings information.

“Advanced nuclear power has the potential to be a strategic game-changer for the United States, both for the DoD and for the commercial sector. For it to be adopted, it must first be successfully demonstrated under real-world operating conditions,” Dr. Jeff Waksman, Project Pele program manager, said.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.