A coal plant in Wyoming will soon see the first nuclear reactor constructed by billionaire partners Bill Gates and Warren Buffets’ respective power companies. Branded as Natrium, the project is among the first of its kind to provide a carbon free reactor that’s safer and more cost effective than its predecessor.
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Gates’ nuclear design company TerraPower and PacifiCorp (a subsidiary of Buffet’s energy company, Berkshire Hathaway) are joining forces to build this revolutionary reactor. Though, the exact location of the plant is not expected to be revealed until the end of the year.
“This is our fastest and clearest course to becoming carbon negative,” mayor of Mark Gordon says in a conference, “Nuclear power is clearly a part of my all-of-the-above strategy for energy.”
Senator John Barrasso shares similar sentiments. He expects Natrium to possibly revive Wyoming’s uranium mines, according to Inhabitat.
Seeing as how TerraPower estimated the cost of the project at $1 billion, it received $8 million in initial funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Wyoming is the perfect arena for this project since it produces the largest amount of coal in the whole country.
“Wyoming has been a leader in energy for over a century,” Gates says in a video announcement, “and we hope our investment in Natrium will help Wyoming to stay in the lead for many decades to come.”
While the tycoons of nuclear power revel in these breaking developments, they have their fair share of critics. The grim prospects of nuclear disasters like Chernobyl bring concerns from many organizations.
While Natrium is proposed as a cheaper option than most of its out dated contemporaries, many feel as though the reactor’s nine figure price tag just isn’t worth it. Along with this grievance, company’s like Greenpeace fear the possible rise of waste and nuclear weapons.
The full construction of the plant is predicted to take around seven years, as said by TerraPower’s president Chris Levesque.
“The Natrium technology was designed to solve a challenge utilities face,” Levesque tells the New York Post, “as they work to enhance grid reliability and stability while meeting decarbonization and emissions-reduction goals.”
To put the level of Natrium’s potential into perspective, TerraPower estimates that the energy required for the project to run would be enough to power around 400,000 households.
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Sources: The Guardian, Inhabitat, New York Post
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