Bill Gates nuclear power plant planned for Wyoming


At the political level, nuclear energy will no longer be an issue in Germany after the energy transition. The last power plants in Germany will be taken offline by the end of 2022. In the UK or the US, the situation is also different in other countries. There, new types of furnaces help produce low-emission energy and support energy sources such as wind and sun. President of the United States Joe Biden He hopes to obtain environmentally friendly electricity from so-called small module reactors (SMRs). These relatively small reactors need to be built quickly and inexpensively, and research is being carried out on a number of projects around the world.

The American start-up Terrapower at Microsoft Founder Company Bill Gates One of the main investors in this type of SMR. As is now known, a furnace will be built by the company in the US state of Wyoming. Built – On the site of the coal-fired power plant, it must be closed. The exact location will not be announced until the end of the year.

The molten salt reactor is planned, which can be sodium cooled and generate 345 MW of power, but can operate at speeds of up to 500 MW in the upper range. For the project in Wyoming Terrapower, the utility wants to work with Pacific Corp, part of Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway. Terrapower boss Chris Levsky said it would take seven years to build the demonstration plant. Last year, his company estimated the cost of such a project at around $ 1 billion.

“It’s our fastest, clearest way to go carbon negative,” Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon said. Nuclear power is part of the overall energy strategy for Wyoming, which has the highest coal production in the country. In addition to climate-friendly energy, he expects other effects. He could renew a uranium mine in Wyoming.

Terrapower was founded 15 years ago and is located in Washington State. The company’s mission is to create a rotary shaft furnace and molten salt furnaces, both of which operate on a similar concept to the famous fast-growing generator, some of which are currently in operation. Since the neutrons produced in the fission reaction are not slowed down, these newly built energy and heating reactors can operate with fuel rods or even nuclear bombs spent with uranium. In theory, they could help reduce the mountain of access.

Compressed water furnaces in the swimming pool

Mini-ovens are not yet fully developed and work is underway to modernize the cooling circuit of devices that can reach temperatures of up to 1000 degrees (among others). Read here). Last year, the Gates-funded company received $ 80 million in funding from the US Department of Energy to demonstrate sodium technology.

Besides TerraPower, other companies operate on SMRs, which according to the definition of the International Atomic Energy Agency provide a maximum power of 300 MW, while conventional large-scale systems reach values ​​of over 1000 MW. Russian nuclear power plant »Academic LomonosoSM is one of the first SMRs. The prototype provides accessible areas for electricity and heating.

In the United States, Nuskel plans to build several small pressurized water reactors, each with a capacity of about 60 MW, to cool the water bed. This should also increase the safety of the ovens as the water must always be sufficient even if the emergency systems of the individual ovens fail. Larger systems are planned by Rolls Royce. With over 400 MW, they can already power large cities, and can sometimes be built quickly and flexibly in modular construction. Because the biggest problems with conventional power plants, in addition to their poor image and safety concerns in some places, include investment costs of several billion and long construction periods.

Are currently available in the world Some conventional nuclear power plants Is under construction. Looking for cheap and CO2Proponents of the technology claim that free electricity would not work without nuclear power. Here are some experts highlighting the potential of SMRs. As promised by companies like Terrapower, such systems will eventually be more open about whether they will be safer, more profitable, and available as climate-friendly energy.

Some experts consider the cost argument too weak because it has already been shown that the development of new technologies costs more than expected. There are also reasonable doubts about safety. Since individual systems generate less energy, many of these SMRs are needed, increasing the risk of potential complications.

Not even a barn question was answered. Indeed, waste will also appear in some models of small systems. It should be stored somewhere for a very long time. At this point, the United States is no better than Germany, for example, the filing of Yucca Montape in the US state of Nevada has been under discussion for years. A few days ago, the Biden government announced that it would finally submit new plans in this regard in the coming months.

The Gates Foundation funds journalism work around the world. At SPIEGEL, he supports the “Global Society” project, which reports on social injustice in the context of globalization. Editorial content is created from scratch without any influence.

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