Innovative approach to infrastructure resilience

A case study of evaluating Department of Defense sites for small modular reactors

Authored by: Olufemi A. Omitaomu , Bandana Kar , Randy J. Belles , Michael P. Poore , Gary T. Mays , Budhendra L. Bhaduri

Defense Innovation Handbook

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138050679
eBook ISBN: 9781315168623
Adobe ISBN:


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The Department of Defense (DOD) spends about $4 billion annually on energy required to power its installations. Facility managers at DOD have objectives and constraints that are very different from their private sector counterparts, since most of DOD’s energy consumption goals are often mandated by Congress through legislation or by President of the United States through Executive Orders [1]. There are approximately 700 DOD military bases in the United States; and because the power requirements for these sites include supporting base missions and base infrastructures that often include tens of thousands of on-site workers and site residents, the power requirements could be considerable. Due to their national security mission, many of these sites are good candidates for reliable, dependable, compact, and secure on-site power generation capabilities [2]. A Geographic Information Systems (GIS) based site suitability approach is extensively used to evaluate and rank available land areas for facility locations [3]. This approach has been used for identifying commercial buildings, waste disposal sites, and nuclear waste sites [3,4]. However, previous applications of this approach are for site-specific or regional studies. In 2008, the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) started an effort to develop a high-resolution computational framework to identify suitable areas for different energy sources at the national scale. In 2011, the idea was formalized into a decision support tool called the Oak Ridge Siting Analysis for Power Generation Expansion (OR-SAGE). The tool uses industry-accepted approaches and criteria, an array of geospatial data sources to screen sites and identify candidate locations to site different power generation technology applications. The basic premise of the tool requires development of exclusionary, avoidance, and suitability criteria to evaluate sites for a given energy source, such as small modular reactors (SMRs). For specific applications of the tool, it is necessary to identify site selection criteria (SSC) that encompass key benchmarks and environmental characteristics for that application. These criteria might include population density, seismic activity, proximity to water sources, proximity to hazardous facilities, avoidance of protected lands and floodplains, susceptibility to landslide hazards, and others.

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