CHEYENNE — Wednesday, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at an event to announce that TerraPower will build its first Natrium advanced nuclear reactor in the state of Wyoming.
The announcement event was hosted by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. Along with Barrasso, participants in the event included Bill Gates, the founder of TerraPower; Chris Levesque, the president and CEO of TerraPower; U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm; and Gary Hoogeveen, the president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power.
Barrasso has been a major supporter of nuclear innovation. As chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, he introduced and enacted bipartisan legislation to support the development of advanced nuclear reactors. The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (NEIMA) was signed into law in January of 2019. NEIMA requires the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to establish a regulatory framework for America’s innovators, who seek to develop, license, and deploy advanced nuclear reactors and other technologies. This new regulatory framework will help support innovation in the nuclear energy sector.
One of Wyoming’s retiring coal-fired power plants could be the home to a nuclear power demonstration plant, Gov. Mark Gordon and other officials announced Wednesday.
Gordon, joined by officials with TerraPower and Rocky Mountain Power, announced they are working to build a “Natrium” reactor demonstration plant in Wyoming that will use uranium produced by the state.
“Today’s announcement is really, truly game changing and monumental for Wyoming,” Gordon said during a news conference.
The Natrium technology has been developed by TerraPower, a nuclear power innovation company founded by software developer Bill Gates, and GE Hitachi, according to a news release from the state, TerraPower and Rocky Mountain Power.
The technology results in a smaller nuclear power plant than has previously been built, along with improved safety measures and a power storage system.