Hurricane-hit Puerto Rico to consider nuclear power

06 November 2018

The majority New Progressive Party in Puerto Rico's House of Representatives yesterday introduced a resolution instructing the chamber’s Government Committee to investigate the possibility of building nuclear power plants on the island, Caribbean News has reported.

Properties in Puerto Rico damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017 (Image: US Customs and Border Patrol)

The party's spokesman, Gabriel Rodríguez, said that following Hurricane Maria’s damaged to Puerto Rico's power grid it was "imperative to look for new, more efficient and less expensive sources" of energy generation.

Hurricane Maria was the strongest storm to make landfall in Puerto Rico in 85 years. It came ashore on 20 September last year, with sustained winds of 155 mph, knocking out power to the entire island.

"One of the most damaged areas and which took longer to restore service was the mountainside. In my representative district #13, there were sectors where electricity was restored a year after Hurricane Maria," the lawmaker reportedly said. Production of power from natural gas or renewable energy have been discussed publicly, but each has advantages and disadvantages, he added.

"The important thing is we do not rule out any of the options in advance, among them the production of nuclear energy," he said, adding that "a feasibility study for its incorporation for the benefit of our citizens" has not yet been conducted.

House Resolution 1189 states that research on the incorporation of nuclear energy should include a careful look at new modular technologies for the design and operation of the plants and the safety measures required, according to the news report. If passed, the committee will have 180 days to present a report on the findings to the House of Representatives.

Rodríguez noted that there are 104 nuclear power units in operation stateside - in California, South Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Texas, among others.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News