Efforts to enhance nuclear technology in Wyoming announced

Local News

Courtesy TerraPower, PacifiCorp

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (ABC4) – A new project could bring nuclear power to some Utah residents.

TerraPower and PacificCorp, which provides power to portions of Utah through Rocky Mountain Power, have announced efforts to advance a nuclear power demonstration project at a retiring coal plant in Wyoming.

Now, the companies are evaluating several potential locations in Wyoming.

“Together with PacifiCorp, we’re creating the energy grid of the future where advanced nuclear technologies provide good-paying jobs and clean energy for years to come,” says Chris Levesque, president and CEO of TerraPower. “The Natrium technology was designed to solve a challenge utilities face as they work to enhance grid reliability and stability while meeting decarbonization and emissions-reduction goals.”

Organizers say the demonstration project will be a fully functioning power plant and is intended to validate the design, construction, and operational features of the Natrium technology.

The project will feature a 345 MW sodium-cooled fast reactor with molten, salt-based energy storage system. The storage technology can boost the system’s output to 500 MW power for over five and a half hours when needed – that’s equivalent to the energy required to power around 400,000 homes.

Officials say this project could lead to faster, more cost-effective decarbonization of electricity generation.

Next steps include further project evaluation, education and outreach, as well as state and federal regulatory approvals prior to acquisition of a Natrium facility.

Utah lawmakers are applauding the announcement.

Governor Spencer Cox took to Twitter Wednesday, saying, “This is a huge announcement and will have big implications for Utah in the future. We look forward to similar partnerships in the years to come.”

Speaker Brad Wilson echoed the setiment, saying, “Exciting news! This innovative energy project in Wyoming will provide safe, clean, and robust power to Utah and the rest of the region for years to come.”

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