TerraPower said it will purchase land in Kemmerer, Wyoming, where the company will begin its nuclear energy Natrium Reactor Demonstration Project.
The company’s Natrium technology is an advanced nuclear reactor and energy storage system, and it will be the first commercial reactor operated in the state of Wyoming. The system is capable of boosting its output of power to 500 megawatts when necessary — enough energy to power about 400,000 homes.
The project is also a part of the DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Project Program, which aims to facilitate the development of advanced nuclear reactors in order to expand access to clean energy across the country.
TerraPower recently announced the first round of contracts for suppliers supporting the projects’ development. Shortly after, an agreement with Centrus Energy was established, ensuring the reactor has access to high-assay, low-enriched uranium by the project’s 2030 operation date. The project will help strengthen the growing nuclear supply chain for North America.
“This milestone purchase marks another step towards providing clean, reliable power to the grid and good-paying jobs in Wyoming,” said Chris Levesque, president and CEO of TerraPower. “We have a great relationship with the community in Kemmerer, and we will continue working closely with local stakeholders and statewide officials as this project moves forward.”
Project Marks First Coal-to-Nuclear Project in the World
The project is located near a retiring coal facility, making it the only coal-to-nuclear project under development in the world, according to TerraPower. Building the new site will bring 1,600 construction jobs to the area, and 250 full-time employees will be hired once the plant comes online.
“In addition to the benefit of clean power and future jobs created, the City of Kemmerer has experienced many positive impacts since being chosen as the site of the first TerraPower Natrium advanced nuclear reactor,” said Brian Muir, City of Kemmerer administrator. “The community is optimistic about our economic future. We’ve already seen increased residential and commercial real estate development.”
The project represents a growing trend in the U.S. of phasing out coal use in favor of clean energy development. Importantly, this transition is not at the expense of coal workers and instead creates new job opportunities in areas traditionally reliant on the fossil fuel industry.
The Inflation Reduction Act recently announced tax credits available to developers creating new clean energy sites, such as TerraPower’s new project, in fossil fuel-dependent communities.