Do not compromise the safety of our people
I am writing to urge caution against the erection of mini nuclear fusion power plants inland or near-shore on our territories, particularly if we do not produce nuclear fuel ourselves.
As you are well aware, the Caribbean is renowned for its beautiful beaches, diverse wildlife, and vibrant communities. It is essential that we prioritize the safety of our people, environment, and future generations when making decisions about energy generation.
Given our geographies, it is almost impossible to locate any small nuclear fusion power plant that would be 35km or more clear of human, large-animal, or fish habitation on these islands. Moreover, nuclear wastes must be safely disposed of, and there is very limited availability of trained physicists and nuclear power engineers, let alone civilian nuclear power technicians, available on these islands. Therefore, it would be unwise to venture into nuclear energy without proper consideration of the long-term implications.
Below is a table showing the electrical and thermal capacities and locations of the world’s ten smallest operational nuclear power plants.
It is important to note that even the smallest operational nuclear fusion power plants can pose significant risks to human health and the environment, and careful consideration should be given before any such plant is erected.
|Rank||Power Plant||Electrical Capacity||Thermal Capacity||Country of Design||Age||Location|
|1||Soreq||5 MW||16 MW||Israel||60 years||Desert|
|2||Yongbyon||5 MW||25 MW||North Korea||40 years||Rural|
|3||Bataan||20 MW||65 MW||USA||40 years||Rural|
|4||Aktau||70 MW||270 MW||Russia||40 years||Desert|
|5||CAREM||100 MW||300 MW||Argentina||New||Rural|
|6||Kamini||100 MW||300 MW||India||New||Rural|
|7||RAPS-1||100 MW||310 MW||USA||50 years||Rural|
|8||Obrigheim||340 MW||940 MW||Germany||56 years||Rural|
|9||Gösgen||970 MW||3,000 MW||Switzerland||40 years||Rural|
|10||Cruas||3,520 MW||11,200 MW||France||35 years||Rural/Remote|
The location of the plants ranges from desert to rural to remote. The climate of the locations varies from tropical to temperate to arctic. The age of the plants ranges from new to 60 years old. It is worth noting that the age of a nuclear power plant can impact its safety and reliability, and regular maintenance and upgrades are necessary to ensure their continued safe operation.
As an energy professional formally trained at public expense in applied nuclear physics with a PhD in physics and undergraduate training in engineering, I have extensive experience in petroleum refinery design, renewable energy plant design, and operation. I understand the importance of considering all available options when it comes to energy generation. However, it is crucial that we do not compromise safety and sustainability in the pursuit of cheaper or more efficient energy.
In light of this, I implore you to carefully consider the risks associated with nuclear energy before making any decisions regarding the erection of mini nuclear fusion power plants in the Caribbean. The potential dangers of nuclear energy are well-documented, and it would be irresponsible to put our people and environment at risk without proper consideration of the consequences.
I urge all Caribbean governments to prioritize the safety of our people and environment when considering energy generation options. There are many viable alternatives to nuclear energy that we can further explore, including renewable energy sources like solar, wind power, small, medium and mini-hydro, and farmed biomass. These options are safer, more sustainable, and less likely to cause harm to our communities.
Dennis A. Minott PhD is the CEO of A-QuEST-FAIR. He is also a renewable energy specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the oil and energy sector.