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Thursday, Jul 25, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.

Alternative Energy

Shovels hit the ground at TerraPower’s next-gen nuclear facility site

Bill Gates says he waited nearly two decades for construction to get started at Wyoming’s Natrium plant

Shovels hit the ground at TerraPower's next-gen Wyoming nuclear plant
TerraPower Founder Bill Gates attends ground breaking ceremony on Monday. Photo credit: IBEW via X

World-renowned business magnate Bill Gates rejoiced on Monday as shovels finally hit the dirt at the site of TerraPower’s future Natrium plant. Several government officials and others involved attended the ceremony celebrating the occasion in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

Non-nuclear construction is now under way before the sodium-cooled fast reactor is installed. This will occur once the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission gives the go-ahead within the next two years.

Bill Gates says he hopes the plant will be powered up in 2030. This is the first time in 40 years that the commission has considered approving a different variety of atomic power unit than light-water, he says.

“Now that we’ve broken ground, the first order of business is to build the sodium test facility,” Gates wrote in his blog, “which will test components and transfer the liquid sodium that will be used to cool the nuclear reactor.”

Building the Natrium plant will require 1,600 workers and take about five years. Two hundred fifty employees will then be needed to maintain it once operational.

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What will be different about the plant?

Gates says there are only two similarities between the soon-to-be-constructed reactor in Kemmerer and conventional power units. Like others, the Natrium reactor will utilize a chain reaction where atoms are split to generate heat. Secondly, it will then use that heat to create steam that moves a turbine, thereby generating electricity.

Aside from that, the new reactor will be completely different from light-water power units and others.

“The Natrium plant uses liquid sodium, whose boiling point is more than eight times higher than water’s, so it can absorb all the extra heat generated in the nuclear core,” Gates says.

Microsoft’s founder described how TerraPower has used supercomputers to simulate every possible disaster. The sodium-cooled fast reactor can withstand it all, he claims.

“Even if the plant loses power, the sodium just keeps absorbing heat without getting to a dangerous temperature that would cause a meltdown.”

Wyoming will soon be home to some of the most advanced nuclear infrastructure in the United States.

The Cowboy State of Wyoming has also been making significant achievements in the gold mining industry. Shovels will hit the ground at the CK Gold Project manned by U.S. Gold Corp. (Nasdaq: USAU) mid-way through this year. It will create more than 200 jobs for state residents too.


U.S. Gold is a sponsor of Mugglehead news coverage 


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