Jonathan Crowe

My Correct Views on Everything

A Nuclear North?

Remote northern communities are off the grid; they have to rely on diesel generators for electrical power. This is, as you can imagine, insanely expensive (in some communities, an order of magnitude more expensive than in southern cities). Among the alternatives being considered: miniature nuclear reactors. Before you start thinking about Fukushima (or, say, Armenia’s Metsamor station, said to be the most dangerous nuclear plant in the world), note that smaller nuclear reactors are supposedly much safer than their larger cousins. Also, northern communities don’t have many other options: it’s not feasible to connect Baffin Island to the grid, and solar panels aren’t really a year-round solution near the Arctic Circle. Apart from the safety and political issues, one remaining question seems to be whether small reactors would be cost-effective in practice, even against diesel.