TerraPower announced plans to build its Natrium reactor1 near a retiring coal plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming, which currently generates almost 90% of its electricity generation from fossil fuels. A total of $2 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding and annual appropriations through the U.S. Department of Energy has been committed to support the licensing, construction and demonstration of this first-of-a-kind reactor.
Natrium will be the first commercial reactor in the state of Wyoming and one of the first advanced reactors to operate in the United States, expanding the state’s already impressive energy portfolio. The project will leverage the existing energy infrastructure and represent the future of advanced nuclear reactor technology. It is well-positioned to provide clean, efficient and reliable power to communities across the country, including the Mountain West.
Wyoming, located in the Northern Rocky Mountain and Four Corners regions, has several counties ranked within the Energy Community IWG’s top 25 priority communities. The state has felt the economic impact resulting in the decline of coal mining, but has started to see the benefits of investing in renewable energy, with 24% of the state’s energy being generated by renewable energy in 2022.
“I am proud to be investing in a next-generation nuclear power plant in Kemmerer and supporting the state of Wyoming as an energy leader in the US,” said TerraPower Chairman Bill Gates. “TerraPower’s Natrium reactor is an example of how energy innovation can create jobs and strengthen the American economy. That’s why I am so excited to be here talking about the project with the community leaders that are making it happen.”
Federal investments in clean energy have led to an increase in private investments of those projects like Natrium, reaching $300.1 billion to go toward public infrastructure and clean energy investments since 2021.
The project will create thousands of construction jobs and provide jobs for the local power plant workers, who can work with utilities to transition or apply their skills to higher-paying roles in nuclear energy.
The Energy Communities IWG is charged with advancing an interagency commitment of robust federal leadership in direct partnership with energy communities to foster economic investment and revitalization and ensure the creation of good-paying jobs. The Energy Communities IWG has identified billions in funding to support transitioning energy communities to help revive their economy for the future. Investments in projects such as Natrium help ensure new jobs and opportunities will become available in new energy sectors.
1 Alice Caponiti, “Next-Gen Nuclear Plant and Jobs Are Coming to Wyoming,” Energy.gov,
https://www.energy.gov/ne/articles/next-gen-nuclear-plant-and-jobs-are-coming-wyoming, 16 Nov. 2021.
Image courtesy of The Lane Report.