Air Force Selects Eielson Air Force Base as Preferred Location for DoD Nuclear Micro-Reactor

Announcement Follows Murkowski’s Staunch Support for Advanced Nuclear

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) applauded the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for selecting Eielson Air Force Base as the preferred pilot location to host the first Air Force nuclear micro-reactor. As a senior member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Murkowski has helped secure significant funding for nuclear micro-reactor development and helped spearhead the creation of the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. During her tenure as Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, Murkowski shepherded into law her bill, the Energy Act of 2020, which includes provisions to support advanced nuclear reactors.

“Strong energy capabilities are critical to our national security and geopolitical interests. Given Alaska’s strategic location, Alaska’s Eielson Air Force Base being selected as the preferred pilot location to host the first Department of the Air Force nuclear micro-reactor is significant news. This is an exciting development for Alaska and helps to broaden our state’s energy infrastructure. I commend the DoD for investing in smart, safe, and clean next-generation energy efforts,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “The implementation of micro-reactor technology will bring clean, and resilient energy opportunities that boost our economy and strengthen our national security infrastructure without the concerns of a large nuclear reactor. Eielson Air Force Base, home to an expanding fleet of F35 aircraft, is an excellent choice for a micro-reactor thanks to the already-existing energy infrastructure, climate conditions, and willingness of Alaskan servicemembers and their communities to pursue these important energy and defense opportunities.”    

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Background: The Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) required the DoD to identify potential locations to site, construct, and operate a micro-reactor pilot by the end of 2027. The micro-reactor will be commercially owned and licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Air Force is working to release a Request-for-Proposal and select a vendor in FY 2022. Construction is anticipated to begin in 2025 provided all necessary environmental reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the NRC are complete. 

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