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Wyoming Breaks Ground on Bill Gates’ Next-Gen Nuclear Facility

Bill Gates-backed TerraPower began construction on Monday on what is positioned to become America’s first next-generation nuclear power facility, in Kemmerer, Wyoming, and the most advanced nuclear facility in the world. 

“This is a big step toward safe, abundant, zero-carbon energy,” the Associated Press cited Gates as saying in Kemmerer on Monday. “And it’s important for the future of this country that projects like this succeed.”

Gates told the audience gathered in Wyoming on Monday that they were “standing on what will soon be the bedrock of America’s energy future.” 

TerraPower, co-founded by Gates, is seeking to “revolutionize” power generation, with ground broken in Wyoming on Monday to prepare the site for reactor construction. TerraPower applied in March for approval of a construction permit for an advanced nuclear reactor using sodium instead of water for cooling. 

While the technology for non-water-cooling reactors has been available for some time, Gates’ work in Wyoming represents the first time in 40 years that a private company has attempted to launch an advanced reactor commercially, AP reported, citing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 

The new facility is next to a coal-burning power plant, the Naughton Power Plant, which will cease using coal in 2026, shifting to natural gas only, which it will also halt around 2036. Naughton is planning to obtain clean energy from the TerraPower reactor.  

America’s first next-gen nuclear facility is a race against Russia, which is also developing reactors that rely on sodium for cooling. 

Russian state-run Rosatom has just received approval for the site of its new BN-1200M nuclear power facility in the Sverdlovsk region. The BN-1200 is a sodium-cooled fast reactor that will eventually serve as Unit 5 of the Beloyarsk nuclear power plant project in the region. Rosatom plans to obtain a license for the construction for the BN-1200 in 2027, according to Nuclear Engineering International. 


By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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