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Monday, July 21, 2014

  • ACEP Nuclear Research Collaboration with INL

For the summer of 2014, ACEP has sent three UAF students to participate as fellows at the Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR), an affiliate of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) in Idaho Falls.  At CSNR, these interns have been working to advance “mini” reactor concepts for use by NASA in space exploration programs. At this point their research has indicated that some aspects of the space reactor technology may be applicable to northern deployment as there are many similar operational requirements such as desire for semi-autonomous operation and smart controls, safety, reliability, and long life.

The three UAF students, Michael Kuka (M.S. Environmental Engineering), Haley McIntyre (M.A. Natural Resource Management), and Alana Vilagi (B.S. Mechanical Engineering), have been teamed up with students from other universities to aid in the design of and feasibility studies for a mobile, robust reactor for remote environments.  In addition, the UAF fellows will be creating a follow-up to ACEP’s 2011 report Small Scale Modular Nuclear Power: an option for Alaska to be presented at this fall’s Alaska Rural Energy Conference. Their findings will update the status of small modular reactor (SMR) technology as well as provide insight to the opportunities and barriers of deploying such devices in Alaska.

Photo: Haley McIntyre, Alana Vilagi, and Michael Kuka in Idaho.  Photo courtesy H. McIntyre, ACEP/UAF.