Bill Gates broke ground on a nuclear power plant

The Telegraph

Bill Gates and his energy company are starting construction at their Wyoming site for a next-generation nuclear power plant he believes will “revolutionize” how power is generated.
The company applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March for a construction permit for an advanced nuclear reactor that uses sodium, not water, for cooling.
If approved, it would operate as a commercial nuclear power plant.
The site is adjacent to PacifiCorp’s Naughton Power Plant, which will stop burning coal in 2026 and natural gas a decade later, the utility said.
READ MORE: Biden administration will lend $1.5 billion to restart Michigan nuclear power plant, a first in the U.S.
Gates co-founded TerraPower in 2008 as a way for the private sector to propel advanced nuclear energy forward to provide safe, abundant, carbon-free energy.
Heat from advanced reactors could be used to produce hydrogen, petrochemicals, ammonia and fertilizer, said John Kotek at the Nuclear Energy Institute.
“There’s tremendous momentum building for new nuclear in the U.S. and the potential use of a far wider range of nuclear energy technology than we’ve seen in decades.”

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At their Wyoming location, Bill Gates and his energy company are beginning construction on a next-generation nuclear power plant that they hope will “revolutionize” the way power is produced.

On Monday, Gates visited the small village of Kemmerer to officially launch the project. The chairman of TerraPower is a co-founder of Microsoft. The business requested a building permit from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in March for an advanced nuclear reactor that will cool itself with sodium rather than water. It would function as a commercial nuclear power plant if approved.

PacifiCorp’s Naughton Power Plant, which will cease to burn coal in 2026 and natural gas ten years later, is located next to the site, according to the utility. Greenhouse gases that warm the earth are not released during nuclear reactor operation. The reactor will provide PacifiCorp with carbon-free power, and the company is considering how much nuclear power to incorporate into its long-term planning.

READ MORE: The first nuclear power plant in the United States, the Michigan nuclear plant will receive a $1.05 billion loan from the Biden administration. s.

With work starting on Monday, the site will be prepared so that, should its permit be granted, TerraPower can begin construction of the reactor as soon as possible. In the development of sodium-cooled reactors, Russia is leading the way.

Saying they were “standing on what will soon be the bedrock of America’s energy future,” Gates addressed the crowd at the groundbreaking. “.

According to Gates, “this is a significant step toward safe, plentiful, zero-carbon energy.”. And the success of initiatives like this is crucial for this nation’s future. “.

Advanced reactors usually run at higher temperatures and lower pressures, usually using a coolant other than water. Despite the existence of this technology for many years, the US has persisted in constructing massive, traditional water-cooled reactors for use as commercial power plants. According to the NRC, a company is attempting to establish an advanced reactor as a commercial power plant in the United States for the first time in roughly forty years with the Wyoming project.

According to Chris Levesque, president and chief executive officer of the company, it’s time to switch to cutting-edge nuclear technology that makes use of the most recent advances in computer modeling and physics to create a simpler, even safer, and more efficient plant design.

With a molten salt energy storage system, TerraPower’s Natrium reactor demonstration project is a fast reactor design that operates on sodium cooling.

The nature of the industry has not been innovative. Instead of advancing with new technologies, it’s been more or less a replication of previous performances. And that helped with dependability,” Levesque remarked in an interview. However, our founders at TerraPower believed that innovation was necessary to address the cost problems with current nuclear power as well as the electricity demands of the ensuing decades. “.

After nearly $35 billion in construction, a Georgia utility recently completed the first two American reactors created from scratch in a generation. $11 billion in cost overruns are included in the total cost of Plant Vogtle’s expansion from two conventional large reactors to four.

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Up to $4 billion is anticipated to be spent on the TerraPower project, with half coming from the U.S. S. Energy Department. Future reactors would be far less expensive, according to Levesque, because the figure includes first-of-its-kind costs for reactor design and licensing.

Advanced nuclear reactors currently being developed in the U.S. s. depend on a fuel type that is enriched to a higher percentage of the isotope uranium-235 than the fuel used in conventional reactors. This fuel type is called high-assay low-enriched uranium. Due to the fact that Russia is the only commercial supplier of the fuel, TerraPower postponed its launch date in Wyoming by two years, to 2030. The company is currently collaborating with other businesses to develop alternative supplies. The U.S. S. The Energy Department is attempting to develop it on a national level.

Concerns about this fuel’s potential use for nuclear weapons were raised by Edwin Lyman, co-author of an article published in Science on Thursday. As there isn’t as much HALEU in the world right now, Lyman, the director of nuclear power safety for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that the risk posed by it is minimal. But if advanced reactor projects—which call for far larger quantities—move forward, that will change, he continued. In the hopes that the international community will tighten security surrounding the fuel, Lyman stated he wishes to increase awareness of the threat.

According to NRC spokesman Scott Burnell, the agency is certain that the requirements it currently has in place will protect the public’s safety and security of any reactors that are constructed, as well as the fuel in them.

In order to enable the private sector to advance nuclear energy technology and produce abundant, carbon-free energy, Gates co-founded TerraPower in 2008.

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Up to 400,000 homes could be powered by the company’s 345 megawatt reactor, which has a maximum output of 500 megawatts. According to TerraPower, the primary goal of its initial reactors will be to generate power. It does, however, envision reactors being built in the future close to industrial plants in order to provide high heat.

Nowadays, almost all industrial processes that need a lot of heat get it from burning fossil fuels. According to John Kotek of the Nuclear Energy Institute, heat from advanced reactors may be utilized to create fertilizer, petrochemicals, hydrogen, and ammonia.

Senior vice president for policy at the industry group Kotek added that it’s noteworthy that Gates, a champion of climate change and a technological innovator, is betting on nuclear power to help address the climate crisis.

The speaker expressed his belief that this has contributed to a greater awareness of the current and potential role nuclear power can play in mitigating carbon emissions. “New nuclear energy is gaining enormous traction in the U.S. S. additionally, a far larger range of nuclear energy technology than we have seen in decades may be used. “.

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