The Galena Nuclear Project: Pursuing Low Cost Energy in Bush Alaska
by Marvin L. Yoder
About the author
Marvin Yoder spent 25 years working as an administrator/manager in a number of local governments in the State of Alaska. In that role, he was directly involved with municipal utilities including, water, waste water, solid waste and electricity.
He spent ten years as City Manager of the City of Galena, Alaska. In that capacity, he was tasked with taking the lead to investigate the pros and cons of the Toshiba SMR that would produce 10 MGW of electricity.
He retired from Galena in 2006 but has followed the progress and the continued interest in SMRs. He has accepted a number of invitations to speak to various groups about this specific aspect of the nuclear industry.
He currently lives in Palmer Alaska with his wife Patsy.
About the book
In the spring of 2003, the City of Galena leadership learned about the development of a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) that could supply electric power to a single community. Galena was a small city on the Yukon River, was off-grid and generated electricity from six diesel generators. Fuel was expensive and was delivered by barges on the River during the summer months.
At that time nuclear power supplied about 20% of the US electricity. However, the 3 Mile Island incident had halted the expansion of the nuclear power industry. The news that a community in Alaska was considering an advanced design SMR generated national and international attention.
Questions came from all sides.
• Could an SMR be developed that was safe for a small community with limited manpower and technical resources?
• Was there a role in the industry for technologically advanced SMR’s or would the industry stay with large conventional power plants?
• Could an SMR, providing both heat and electricity improve the sustainability of an isolated community or a remote industrial site.
• How would the cost to the consumer be affected by installing an SMR?
These and other questions were on the mind of the City leaders as they investigated to the feasibility of installing an SMR in Galena, Alaska. This book is a narrative documenting the effort to find answers to these questions
Marvin L. Yoder
December 4, 2019