© Stocksak. FILE PHOTO: Bill Gates (Trustee and Co-Chair, Global Commission on Adaptation), arrives to speak at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City, New York City, U.S.A, September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Fil
WASHINGTON, (Stocksak), TerraPower LLC, Bill Gates’ advanced nuclear reactor company and PacifiCorp announced that they will be conducting a study to determine whether five additional Natrium reactors could be deployed in the U.S. West by 2035.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc (NYSE:) Inc owns TerraPower and PacifiCorp. They plan to launch a $4B demonstration Natrium reactor that will be located in Wyoming on a former coal plant site. TerraPower and GE Hitachi, (OTC:) Nuclear Energy will provide about half of the funding for the Wyoming Natrium Reactor.
The companies said that the joint study will evaluate the potential of advanced reactors being located near existing fossil-fueled generator sites. This will enable PacifiCorp’s repurposing of existing power generation and transmission assets in California and Washington, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.
“This is just the first step, as advanced nuclear power needs to be evaluated through resource planning processes and receive regulatory approval,” Gary Hoogeveen – president and chief executive at Rocky Mountain Power, a division PacifiCorp – stated in a press release. “But it’s a great opportunity that advances us down a path to a net zero-energy future.
Advanced reactors will be smaller than traditional nuclear power plants and will run on fuel enriched up 20% uranium, called high assay low enhanced uranium (HALEU), which Russia is the only producer.
Some see the reactors as a vital, virtually carbon-free technology that can supplement intermittent energy sources like wind and sun as governments seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Nonproliferation experts believe that the more highly enriched fuel, which will be used in advanced reactors, could be a target for militants seeking to use it as a crude nuclear weapon. Advanced reactor supporters argue that these plants are safer than conventional ones and produce less waste.