Pilot Natrium Plant To Be Built In Wyoming

6 Jun 2021


Plans to construct a Natrium reactor demonstration project at a retiring coal plant in the US state of Wyoming were announced this week by TerraPower, PacifiCorp and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. The companies are evaluating several potential locations in the state for the plant, which will feature a 345 MWe sodium-cooled fast reactor combined with a molten salt energy storage system that can boost the system’s output to 500 MWe for more than five-and-a-half hours when needed. They expect to announce the selected site by the end of 2021.

TerraPower – a company largely funded by Microsoft founder Bill Gates – and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) announced the launch of the Natrium concept in September 2020. The partners hope to commercialise the technology by the end of this decade.

TerraPower says Natrium’s novel architecture simplifies previous reactor types. Non-nuclear mechanical, electrical and other equipment will be housed in separate structures, reducing complexity and cost. The design is intended to permit significant cost savings by allowing major portions of the plant to be built to industrial standards. Improvements use fewer equipment interfaces and reduce the amount of nuclear-grade concrete by 80% compared to large reactors. Natrium reactors are designed to provide firm, flexible power that seamlessly integrates into power grids with high penetrations of renewables.

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