Buffett and Gates build nuclear power plant in coal country
Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have chosen one of America’s major coal-producing states as the location for a new type of nuclear reactor, using Natrium as the power source.
Natrium’s power plant, with a projected cost of $ 1 billion, will reuse a coal-fired power plant for its operations in Wyoming, with the exact location to be announced by the end of 2021. The partners hope this will help. the United States on the road to a zero carbon future.
The development consists of a 345 megawatt sodium-cooled fast reactor with molten salt energy storage that could increase the system output power to 500 MW during peak demand. This would provide enough energy to power up to 400,000 homes.
The project will be overseen by TerraPower and Pacificorp, founded by Gates and Buffett respectively. TerraPower has played a key role in explore the potential of Natrium last year, the US Department of Energy granted the company $ 80 million in funding to demonstrate the potential potency of the chemical.
“We believe Natrium will be a game-changer for the energy industry”, Gates declared of the project.
TerraPower President and CEO Chris Levesque adds, “We need this kind of clean energy on the grid in the 2030s.
Some experts criticize the plans, warning that advanced reactors may present a higher risk than their conventional counterparts. Reactor fuel must be enriched at a higher rate than conventional fuel, making the supply chain a potential target for groups trying to build a brute nuclear weapon.
However, advanced nuclear reactors have simpler designs than conventional reactors, making them easier to build, more fuel efficient, cheaper and safer.
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon believe “This is our fastest and clearest path to going carbon negative,” declaring: “Nuclear power is clearly part of my overall energy strategy.”
The project is expected to provide carbon-free energy on demand, as well as hundreds of short and long-term jobs in the construction and operation of factories. This will give a much needed boost to Wyoming’s employment sector after two decades of coal-fired plant closures.
While two out of three nuclear reactors in the world are expected to be decommissioned in the near future, the United States continues to invest heavily in nuclear power. For example, the Vogtle nuclear power plant in Georgia is expected to enter commercial operation in November 2021, at a cost of $ 28 billion. It seems that despite the abandonment of nuclear power in recent years, we cannot ignore its potential as a world leader in energy.
After a decade of decline after major disasters such as Fukushima in 2011, which wiped out Japan’s nuclear program, two countries, Belarus and the United Arab Emirates, recently commissioned new nuclear power plants. In addition, Japan aims to reintroduce nuclear capabilities, with at least 5 safety-enhanced reactors expected to be put back into service by 2025.
The Middle East and South Asia are expected to increase nuclear power generation by the end of the decade, with Turkey, Egypt, Bangladesh, China and India all investing in nuclear reactors. This has driven uranium stocks up since late 2020, with two major uranium miners listed in the United States, Uranium Energy Corp. and Cameco Corporation, both experiencing a steady climb.
Despite the recent decline in nuclear power, plans to invest in putting existing reactors back into service and developing new ones suggest that nuclear power is not yet dead. Moreover, if Gates and Buffett succeed in developing their advanced Natrium reactor, it could pave the way for future projects.
By Felicity Bradstock for Oil Octobers
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