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LC Commission looking into setting up mini nuclear power plants in communities

A rendering of Oklo’s first nuclear power plant, dubbed the Aurora, that will be built at the Idaho National Laboratory.
Credits: Image: Courtesy of Oklo

Lincoln County Commissioner Jerry Hansen says the Commission is looking into setting up mini nuclear plants in communities through a company called Oklo.

He says one of these small nuclear plants could theoretically power up to 10,000 to 15,000 homes.

“You think about that as it pertains to Lincoln County,” Hansen said. “A couple of those reactors or a reactor could make a difference if they could get some power cell agreement with a local co-op or something.”

He says it is fairly far in the regulatory process, but it something they are keeping an eye on. He says these reactors can be placed where you need the power.

“As opposed to having to do a lot of transmission lines,” Hansen said. “You can do it on an acre of ground.”

Oklo uses what are called micro-reactors that will be powered from nuclear waste. The Commissioner says traditional reactors still have 95% of the fuel still available after use.

“It’s just a matter of how you extract that,” Hansen said. “These small reactors…have thousands [fewer] parts to be regulated.”

He also says the Commission is still learning things about these micro-reactors and says this does not compete with TerraPower. He says this just allows them to see both concepts and where they go.

Let us know what you think!


  1. There’s an old saying that applies here: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Caveat Emptor.

    I would resent any government agency dumping my tax dollars into unproven technology, no matter how wonderful it sounds.

  2. On the NRC website their application was denied. On Oklo’s website it is just a shell. Nothing there.

  3. If our tax dollars are to go to any energy innovation then Nuclear is the way to head, whether unproven or not, this has greater promise and less environmental impact than the so called “renewable sources” of wind and solar that have in 20 years shown to be a money laundering flop that benefits only other countries, namely china.

    • I agree with most of that. The problem here is that the technology being proposed–as far as this press release reveals anything remotely factual–is far from proven commercially, at least not at the proposed microscale scale with the proposed fuel source. I know the INEL is cooperating, and that does lend some credibility to the project. But keep in mind that INEL is not tasked with ensuring the results are commercially viable, only that the concept is theoretically feasible.

      In fact, I believe there are other projects going on at various stages of research and development, and I’m sure that one or more of them will prove out. What I would hate to see is for Lincoln County taxpayers to sink millions into research and development of something that has a lower likelihood of success than some of the others.

      Let private industry sink THEIR money into it, not yours. I’m old enough to remember a fiasco with Nuclear power that was supposed to come from a reactor here in Washington state, a reactor that is now shut down. I think many of the people involved back then are living there in Star Valley. Ask them about getting burned by too good to be true proposal. Talk to Lower Valley Power and Light about it. They’ll know what I’m referring to.

      Ultimately, I would simply call on the County Commissioners to do their due diligence. Consult with other, non-interested, professional nuclear physicists and organizations to get an objective opinion on this project. Remember, it’s only going to “work” if it can produce electricity at a cost you can afford. “Environmental Impact” is nice, but it doesn’t pay the bills.

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