Barrasso says new legislation paves way for new Wyoming Natrium nuclear reactor

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A design plan for the “Natrium” nuclear power plant to be built in Wyoming was shared in a PacifiCorps press release on Wednesday. (Pacific Corps)

CASPER, Wyoming – U.S. Senator from Wyoming John Barrasso on Friday helped introduce the American Nuclear Infrastructure Act, a law he said would pave the way “for the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies like the reactor. Natrium arriving in Wyoming ”.

“The US nuclear infrastructure law will strengthen both the energy and national security of the United States,” Barrasso said in a press release shared by his office on Friday. “In the face of Russian and Chinese aggression, it is essential that we remain the world’s leading developer of nuclear energy technology. This bipartite law achieves this. Nuclear power is reliable and clean. Our bipartisan bill supports the continued operation of existing U.S. reactors and paves the way for the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies such as the Natrium reactor coming to Wyoming. “

Governor Mark Gordon announced last June that Wyoming had been selected for the construction of a new “advanced” nuclear reactor, saying it would be “a radical and monumental change” for Wyoming.

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The system would be built at one of four sites in Wyoming. It was co-developed by TerraPower, founded by Bill Gates and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. The US Department of Energy has Provided TerraPower with $ 80 Million in Seed Funding to demonstrate Natrium technology, the technology that TerraPower claims can offer “better reactor economy, greater energy efficiency, improved safety and lower waste volumes”.

The Natrium reactor would be a sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR), using different technology from existing reactors in the United States, which are either pressurized water reactors and the remaining reactors or boiling water reactors. Whether Natrium technology would actually improve existing reactors is debated, with the Union of Concerned Scientists exploring the question in its “” Advanced “is not always better” report.

The Barrasso-backed American Nuclear Infrastructure Act enjoys bipartisan support. Other senators who introduced the bill last week include:

  • US Senator Shelley Moore Capito (RW.Va.)
  • US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.)
  • US Senator Cory Booker (DN.J.)
  • US Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)

Friday’s press release states that the US Nuclear Infrastructure Act (ANIA):

  • Restore US international competitiveness and global leadership
  • empower the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to “lead a consensus-building process in international forums to establish regulations for advanced nuclear reactor designs”
  • empower the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “to refuse imports of Russian nuclear fuel for reasons of national security”
  • create an award “to encourage the success of the licensing process for next generation nuclear fuel and technology”
  • demand that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “identify and resolve regulatory barriers to enable advanced nuclear technologies to reduce industrial emissions”
  • authorize a targeted credit program to “preserve nuclear power plants at risk of prematurely shutting down”
  • restructure the rules that restrict investment in nuclear energy
  • “Revitalize” the country’s nuclear supply chain infrastructure
  • identify “modern manufacturing techniques to build better, faster, cheaper and smarter nuclear reactors”

“It is important that we continue to position the United States as a world energy leader, and this requires us to take full advantage of all sources of America’s energy potential,” Capito said in the statement. “In addition to our country’s coal and natural gas resources, nuclear power can provide the critical, clean and reliable electricity needed to power our homes and businesses. “

Whitehouse said the legislation would help keep existing nuclear power plants online “by preventing their replacement with dirtier fossil fuels.”

“We must also invest in the development of a new generation of nuclear energy technologies that can productively reuse spent nuclear fuel,” the senator added.

Booker emphasizes the role of nuclear energy in reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change.

“The US Nuclear Infrastructure Act will facilitate the development of the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors, help keep our existing reactor fleet safe, and provide critical funding to clean up pollution left behind from abandoned mines located on tribal lands. “, added Booker.

More information on the legislation is available online:



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