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TerraPower chair Bill Gates at an October event in London. Photo: Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty Images

TerraPower, the Bill Gates-founded nuclear power venture, announced Tuesday plans to replace a Wyoming coal-fired power station with a $4 billion advanced reactor demonstration project.

Why it matters: Roughly half of the project's funding will come from the U.S. government, including $1.5 billion from the infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law this week, per an emailed statement from Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

The big picture: TerraPower will build the 345-megawatt facility at the site of the Naughton coal plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming, about 130 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, pending federal and local approval, per a company statement.

  • The coal plant is set to close in 2025 and the new facility is due to open in 2028.
  • The Natrium reactor "would be fueled by uranium enriched up to 20%, a far higher level than today's fuel," Reuters notes.

Details: "The project features a 345 MW sodium-cooled fast reactor with a molten salt-based energy storage system," according to TerraPower's statement.

  • "The storage technology can boost the system's output to 500 MW of power when needed, which is equivalent to the energy required to power around 400,000 homes. The energy storage capability allows the plant to integrate seamlessly with renewable resources."

Of note: This is one of two projects supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, with initial funding of $160 million.

What they're saying: TerraPower CEO Chris Levesque said in a statement that the company's technology "will help ensure the continued production of reliable electricity while also transitioning our energy system and creating new, good-paying jobs in Wyoming."

  • Granholm said: "The energy communities that have powered us for generations have real opportunities to power our clean energy future through projects just like this one, that provide good-paying jobs and usher in the next wave of nuclear technologies."
  • The project has also won the support of conservative leaders, including Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), who praised the site choice:
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 17, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Energy efficiency gains are too slow for a sustainable climate path

mage via the International Energy Agency's Energy Efficiency 2021 report

A new International Energy Agency report shows rising investment in energy efficiency and gains in the efficiency of the global economy, but both lag levels needed for a sustainable climate path.

Why it matters: Boosting efficiency is vital to meeting climate goals.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 18, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The new frontier of corporate clean energy buys

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new analysis finds good news and challenges for a growing movement to better align corporate and government energy procurement with carbon-free power.

The big picture: Princeton researchers sized up the effects of commercial and industrial buyers ensuring their facilities' demand is met around-the-clock with zero-carbon resources.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.