TerraPower begins construction at 345-MW advanced reactor site in Wyoming

Dive Brief:

  • TerraPower has begun construction on its 345-MW Natrium sodium-cooled fast reactor demonstration project near Kemmerer, Wyoming, marking the first advanced non-light water nuclear reactor project to move from design into construction, the company said Monday.
  • Initial construction activities will be limited to non-nuclear site features, with nuclear construction to begin after the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approves TerraPower’s March 28 nuclear construction permit application for the Natrium design, the company said. The facility, which will supply power to PacifiCorp’s electric grid, could begin operations by 2030, TerraPower said in 2022.
  • “Innovative technologies like the Natrium project will enhance our ability to serve our customers, meet growing demand and ensure a reliable and resilient energy future,” PacifiCorp CEO Cindy Crane said in a statement.

Dive Insight:

The new reactor will be constructed near the site of the 687-MW Naughton power plant, which PacifiCorp plans to convert from coal to natural gas in 2026. It’s the world’s only coal-to-nuclear project under development, TerraPower said.

The Wyoming demonstration project “is intended to validate the design, construction and operational features of the Natrium technology” while operating as “a fully functioning commercial power plant,” TerraPower said. TerraPower developed the reactor in partnership with GE Hitachi.

The Natrium design is one of two awardees in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. X-energy’s Xe-100 reactor design is the other. ARDP is set to disburse $3.2 billion over seven years, with the partner companies providing matching funds.

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