No, I’m not talking about North Korea, Syria or even Iran. I’m talking about a small nuclear reactor so we have a reliable source of electricity when there are brownouts in town.

I first noticed that such power plants were available after spotting this article in the Speculist about Hyperion’s announcement that such a small reactor would be “available soon”.

Hoax or real?

The latest buzz (on Instapundit) says it’s a fact, not a hoax, and Toshiba is selling them:

Instpundit reports:

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Dave Moelling emails: “The Toshiba mini reactor is for real. They’ve been having some discussions with remote towns in Alaska. It’s an updated version of the old Army mobile reactors from the 1950’s that were used in Greenland and Antarctica. The idea is to have a very stable, safe plant with a very long life without refueling. The real market is future industrial applications.”

And reader Thomas Wunderlin of Arctic Green Energy writes: “This is decidedly not a hoax. The first installation is slated for Alaska. Here are a couple of links:” Link 1, Link 2.

Toshiba reports:

The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs.

…. The new revolutionary technology uses reservoirs of liquid lithium-6, an isotope that is effective at absorbing

neutrons. The Lithium-6 reservoirs are connected to a vertical tube that fits into the reactor core. The whole whole process is self sustaining and can last for up to 40 years, producing electricity for only 5 cents per kilowatt hour, about half the cost of grid energy.

Toshiba offered one to the Alaskan town of Galena as an experiment. Right now, that central Alaskan town has to import  2 million gallons of diesel a year to keep the lights burning. Yet DiscardedLiesBlog reports that some environmentalists and local tribes are questioning the gift as suspicious because it comes free from foriegners (as a promotional stunt so the company can prove it can work for communities).

So maybe the device is not quite small enough to fit into your DeLorean, but it will fit into a medium sized room and produce enough power to light your town.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. 

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