Founded by Bill Gates, TerraPower, a company that plans to use nuclear power to deliver energy in a sustainable way, has chosen Kramer, Wyoming, as a suitable venue to demonstrate its advanced Natrium nuclear reactor. The decision was made after an in-depth assessment of the site and consultations with the local community, the company said in a press release.
Last year, the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded TerraPower a grant of $ 80 million for demonstration its technology. The advanced nuclear reactor, which the company is developing with General Electric-Hitachi, uses a fast sodium-cooled reactor that runs on a molten salt-based energy storage system. Earlier in June, the company decided to set up its demonstration plant in Wyoming and recently sealed the decision, choosing the location of the coal-fired power plant, which is scheduled to be shut down by 2025, the press release said.
Factors taken into account in site selection include the site’s ability to obtain a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), network needs, access to infrastructure, site characteristics, and community support. The company expects to apply for a building permit in the NRC by mid-2023, the press release said.
The demonstration plant, where the company plans to build a 345 MW reactor, will be used to validate the design, construction and operation of TerraPower technology. Sodium technology uses up to 20 percent enriched uranium, much higher than that used by other nuclear reactors. However, proponents of nuclear energy say the technology generates less nuclear waste, Reuters reported.
The energy storage system that will be used at the plant is also designed to work with renewable energy sources. TerraPower plans to use this capability and increase its capacity to 500 MW, enough to power 400,000 homes, the company said.
It passed recently The Infrastructure and Workplace Investment Act has allocated a $ 2.5 billion investment in modern reactor demonstration projects (ARDP). The TerraPower project is expected to receive $ 1.5 billion from the fund, with DOE providing the remaining $ 2 billion for the project. TerraPower responds to the government’s investment in the project, making it a $ 4 billion project that will be commercially owned when completed.
In a press release, Terra Power said the construction would need 2,000 workers at its peak and is expected to be operational over the next seven years, after which it will maintain up to 250 jobs.
As the world seeks cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels, many nuclear power plants are returning calling them safe. Innovations in the arena have led us to small and even micro-level nuclear reactors, along with those that could treat nuclear waste and generate energy.