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TerraPower Nuclear Plant

Image Courtesy of TerraPower

TerraPower broke ground on its Natrium reactor near a retired coal plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in June 2024. 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. Once fully functional, the plant will have the capacity to generate enough electricity to power 400,000 homes in a state with more than 500,000 citizens.

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. TerraPower is matching the federal investment dollar-for-dollar and has also raised more than $1 billion in private funding to support the project.

Roughly 1,600 workers will be needed for Natrium’s construction at the project’s peak, providing jobs for local power plant workers, and the build is expected to take five years. Once operational, the company estimates it will support 250 on-site jobs, including security.

“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 U.S.,” 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.”

Wyoming, located in the Northern Rocky Mountain and Four Corners regions, has several counties ranked within the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization’s (Energy Communities IWG) top 25 priority communities. The state has felt the economic impact resulting from the decline of coal mining, but has started to see the benefits of investing in renewable energy, with 24% of the state’s energy having been generated by renewable energy in 2022.

Federal investments in clean energy have led to an increase in private investments of projects like Natrium, reaching more than $537.3 billion to go toward public infrastructure and clean energy investments across the country since 2021.

“This first-of-its-kind project is good for the community of Kemmerer-Diamondville, the state of Wyoming, and our nation. As Natrium moves boldly toward establishing a new domestic energy source, it offers the promise of hundreds of jobs, enhanced careers, and renewed vitality,” said Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon. “This project also demonstrates how good things can happen when the private and public sectors work together to solve problems. Advances made here will bolster Wyoming’s ability to produce another source of dispatchable power securely.”

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 of dollars in funding to support transitioning energy communities in reviving their economy for the future. Investments in projects such as Natrium help ensure new jobs and opportunities will become available in new energy sectors.

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