I truly cannot believe I am writing this. But the question is getting asked over and over on social media. The claim that TMT will use some for of nuclear power is apparently believed in some parts of the protest community.
What will power TMT? HELCO
TMT will draw power from the local power grid like every other telescope. There is an underground power line run up the side of the mauna from the cross island transmission line in the Saddle.
While most of the telescopes have backup diesel generators, these are simply backups, it is far cheaper to just buy power from HELCO like everyone else on the island. Be very glad you do not get Keck or Gemini’s power bill, HELCO loves the observatories.
There is some solar capability as well used to offset those HELCO power bills. Gemini recently installed solar panels at the summit, Keck will be doing the same soon. Keck also has substantial solar capacity at the HQ building in Waimea.
At least some folks in the protest community are skeptical of the nuclear claim as well, coming to the pro-TMT groups and asking to verify the claim. This keeps showing up so often there must be a reasonable number of folks who believe it and keep posting it.
This post by Imua Keaulani is the earliest version of the claim I can find online, it may be the original. The use of emoticons here is also original.
Does anyone know why or what the real issues are that the Hawaiians have with the construction 🏗 of the 🔭 on Mauna Kea ? Well what if you knew that the reason why they want to build the telescope there is because under that 🏔 there is the hugest water duct on the island , it’s so huge it could provide fresh 💧 to the whole island for hundreds of years , well in order to run those 🔭 they need to be cooled because of the nuclear power it runs on so they’re going to drill down to the water and send down the nuclear waste into the water to cool it off then send it back up to the telescope to keep it running. Now imaging all that fresh ice cold water that we have just sitting there for us and instead of allowing us access to free freshwater for life they want to pump nuclear waste into just so they can look into a machine that can see across the universe!Imua Keaulani, Facebook Post, 18July2019
Uh? Sure. This is so bad that you wonder if it a complete parody, just written by a troll looking to see if they can get folks to believe something wilder yet. The issue is that more than a few people seem to believe it based in the many comments. This post had 246 Facebook shares when I found it last week, probably far more now. Variants of the myth a showing up commonly on several social media platforms.
In reading you can see part of the myth uses a claim that the water table will be used to cool the nuclear reactor and contaminate the aquifer with nuclear waste. Why would anyone even consider this? This is simply an attempt to smear the TMT project with the worst possible lie.
No, there is no nuclear reactor planned, there is not even an aquifer in the mauna like that described.
Result: Completely False