Tuesday, 25 June 2024

Bill Gates Announces Breaking Ground Of “Next-Generation Nuclear Power Plant”

Bill Gates announced they broke ground on the “first-ever Natrium plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming.”

“I’ve been waiting for this day for nearly 20 years: Today, we broke ground on the first-ever Natrium plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming. This next-generation nuclear power plant is a big step towards safe, abundant, zero-carbon energy,” Gates said.

“Kemmerer, Wyoming will soon be home to the most advanced nuclear facility in the world,” Gates wrote.

From GatesNotes:

I just left the groundbreaking ceremony for the first-ever Natrium plant, which will bring safe, next-generation nuclear technology to life right here in Wyoming. It’s a huge milestone for the local economy, America’s energy independence, and the fight against climate change.

Today is a big one for Kemmerer—for the coal plant workers who will be able to see their future job site being constructed across the highway, for the local construction workers who will be part of a 1,600-person skilled labor force building the plant, and for the local businesses that will take care of the new workforce.

The plant was designed by TerraPower, a company I started in 2008. But my nuclear journey started several years earlier, when I first read a scientific paper for a new type of nuclear power plant.

The design was far safer than any existing plant, with the temperatures held under control by with the laws of physics instead of human operators who can make mistakes. It would have a shorter construction timeline and be cheaper to operate. And it would be reliable, providing dependable power throughout the day and night. As I looked at the plans for this new reactor, I saw how rethinking nuclear power could overcome the barriers that had hindered it—and revolutionize how we generate power in the U.S. and around the world.

So, we started TerraPower, where nuclear scientists could take the concept and transform it into a reality. Since then, the amazing team at TerraPower has proven we can do nuclear better. They are leading the country—and the world—in developing safe, next-generation nuclear technology.

WyoFile reports:

Gates-backed TerraPower touts the Natrium design as part of the industry’s “next generation” strategy to deploy nuclear power throughout the nation and across the globe — a low-carbon alternative for stable electrical generation and a means to address planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions while meeting growing demand for electricity, according to the company.

Rather than the industry’s existing standard of massive nuclear power plants that consume a lot of water, Natrium is much smaller and will use liquid sodium to cool the reactor, which is designed to generate a consistent 345 megawatts of power — enough energy to power about 250,000 homes — with a capability of ramping up to 500 megawatts for short periods, according to the Bellevue, Washington-based TerraPower.

The $4 billion construction project is also considered an economic lifeline for southwest Wyoming, particularly the adjacent towns of Kemmerer and Diamondville, a region impacted by fossil fuels’ decline. The company selected the location in 2021 in part because it can tap into existing power-grid infrastructure and local labor force currently serving the nearby Naughton power plant, which is scheduled for permanent closure in 2036. Until the Natrium project came along, locals considered the pending Naughton closure — and potentially the Kemmerer coal mine that serves it — an insurmountable blow to jobs and the local economy.

“I believe this project will keep Kemmerer prosperous for decades to come,” Gates said. “That’s because we’re not just going to build the one plant. We’re going to build a lot of these things.”

Electrical demand is projected to increase across the globe — including to support data centers and artificial intelligence, Gates said. And nations are desperate for reliable carbon-free energy.


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