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Gates-founded TerraPower signs nuclear fuel deal with Framatome

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May 31, 2024
Illustration of two hands with matching pieces of a nuclear symbol.  

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TerraPower, the advanced nuclear energy developer founded by Bill Gates, signed an agreement with reactor company Framatome North America to develop an enrichment plant in Washington.

Why it matters: The agreement is another step toward building the domestic fuel supply needed to make next-generation reactors a reality.

The big picture: TerraPower plans to work with Framatome to fund construction of a pilot plant for high assay low enriched uranium metallization.

  • The vast majority of advanced nuclear reactors in the U.S. will rely on HALEU. There's also a severe shortage of the fuel.

Zoom in: Russia is the only large-scale HALEU producer. Its invasion of Ukraine crimped that fuel supply.

  • TerraPower in 2022 said it would have to delay its reactor development due to fuel constraints.

The latest: The company's planned plant with Framatome will fill part of the HALEU supply chain, converting uranium into the metal needed for reactor fuel rods.

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