Pentagon Launches Nuclear Project for US Bases

Pentagon Launches Nuclear Project for US Bases

( – A new nuclear program from the Pentagon promises to use some groundbreaking new technology to bring clean, portable power to military installations in the near future. Microreactors, touted by some as the wave of the future, could be a reality in the next few years.

The military will pursue a program to develop and produce transportable microreactors capable of providing an entire base with nuclear power. The reactors, a combination of Cold War ideas and new-age technology, could be ready for demonstration as soon as 2025, Program Manager Dr. Jeff Waksman told the Military Times.

Waxman says the new reactor design could be a strategic advantage for the Department of Defense (DOD) as well as have commercial applications. The plant, weighing 40 tons assembled, can be flown from its origin point to a base, island, or other areas in need of power and provide from one to five megawatts of electricity. The revolutionary design fits in three shipping containers, making it available anywhere the US military can safely land a cargo plane.

Critics of the reactor, however, believe the risks of having a functional, mobile nuclear reactor far outweigh the rewards. Dr. Alan J Kuperman of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project published a paper listing his concerns, the first of which is the obvious: an enemy attack. Dr. Waksman told the Military Times that the design is for austere locations and obviously not suitable for front-line battle locations. He did mention there were extra precautions commanders could take in case of attacks.

Kuperman isn’t convinced, however, doubting the need for a transportable nuclear power source for peaceful areas with no need for power.

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