Bill Gates’ nuclear startup picks a Wyoming coal town for its 1st advanced reactor, which will cost $4 billion

Business Insider – by Kate Duffy

TerraPower, Bill Gates‘ nuclear-power venture, has picked the western Wyoming coal town of Kemmerer as the preferred location of its first advanced nuclear power plant.

The plant, which the company calls a “demonstration project” for its Natrium reactor, will cost about $4 billion, which is four times as much as TerraPower wants its nuclear power plants to cost in the future, per CNBC

“One important thing to realize is the first plant always costs more,” TerraPower CEO Chris Levesque said in a video call with the media on Tuesday, per CNBC. TerraPower said in 2020 that its plants would cost around $1 billion, Reuters reported in June.

Gates said in a press briefing in June that the reactor, which uses liquid sodium as its coolant instead of water, would be safer, perform better, and cost less than traditional nuclear power.

Warren Buffett’s power company, PacifiCorp, is working with Gates’ TerraPower on the Natrium reactor project, which is expected to be finished in 2028, per the release.

The US government has agreed to pump $1.9 billion into the project, Reuters reported. This includes $1.5 billion from the infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed this week, according to TerraPower’s press release.

TerraPower, founded by Gates 15 years ago, will contribute $2 billion for the project, per the release.

The advanced nuclear power plant in Kemmerer would be able to produce a baseload of 345 megawatts, but would also have the capacity to supply 500 megawatts of power, which is enough energy to power around 400,000 homes, TerraPower said in the release.

The plant is set to provide power for 60 years, Levesque said in the video call, per CNBC.

Gates’ company will need about 2,000 construction workers when the project reaches its peak, according to the press release. Kemmerer’s mayor said in June that he hoped the plant could replace hundreds of jobs that were being lost as a coal plant closed down.

TerraPower didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment about costs.

Business Insider

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