Funding Opportunity Highlights American Commitment to Innovation
Bellevue, Washington – Oct. 13, 2020 – TerraPower has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to demonstrate the Natrium™ reactor and energy system with its technology co-developer GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and engineering and construction partner Bechtel. The award brings public and private interests together through the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP), which will provide $160 million for initial funding to build two reactors that can be operational within the next five to seven years.
With GEH and Bechtel, TerraPower will deploy its cost-competitive, sodium fast reactor with a molten salt energy storage system. Numerous utilities, including PacifiCorp, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Energy Northwest and Duke Energy will collectively provide their valuable expertise in the areas of licensing, operations, maintenance, siting and grid needs.
“This award is a transformational event in nuclear energy,” said Chris Levesque, TerraPower president and CEO. “Together with the U.S. DOE and our partners, TerraPower will demonstrate a truly advanced nuclear technology at commercial scale. In addition to its superior economics, the Natrium technology solves an entirely new problem that utilities face today, the need for clean, firm generation and power storage to operate in tandem with wind and solar.”
“This award is a pivotal moment for the future of resilient, reliable, low-carbon energy in the United States,” said Barbara Rusinko, president of Bechtel’s Nuclear, Security & Environmental global business unit. “It will shape the industry for decades to come and creates the opportunity for a leap forward in innovative plant design, engineering, and construction – all aimed at making advanced nuclear competitive in cost and complementary to wind and solar. This is exactly the innovation we hope to bring to the Natrium team.”
“As co-developer of Natrium technology, we are proud to be part of the team selected for this program,” said Jay Wileman, GEH president and CEO. “Natrium is an innovative path to advanced, flexible, clean energy and the ARDP will further accelerate the deployment of this technology.”
This effort will demonstrate the Natrium design, enabling the commercialization of a new source of abundant, clean energy in time to help meet climate goals. At the end of the project, the Natrium demonstration will be a Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed, grid-scale reactor entering commercial service. In addition, the infrastructure needed for further commercial deployments will have been established. The U.S. nuclear industry will be able to enrich and fabricate high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel; fabricate and qualify advanced reactor equipment; and license, construct, and operate highly competitive advanced reactors.
“TerraPower’s work on Natrium is phenomenal in terms of developing low-cost, large-scale energy technology that will meet the rising energy demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Bill Gates, chairman of TerraPower’s board of directors. “The reactor is designed to integrate into grids with high penetrations of wind and solar and offers a significant improvement in cost over conventional nuclear technologies. This type of innovation is extremely difficult, but the Natrium team is equipped with the expertise, commercial experience, and the resources to successfully build advanced, commercially viable nuclear technology in the U.S. that is suitable for global use.”
The Natrium reactor technology employs metal fuel that offers improved reactor economics, greater fuel efficiency, enhanced safety, and lower volumes of waste. It uses HALEU, which is not produced in the U.S. today. In September, TerraPower announced that it would initiate efforts with Centrus to build American, commercial-scale enrichment capacity to produce HALEU for the Natrium technology’s metal fuel.
“Just as Shippingport station led to hundreds of reactors being built around the world last century with U.S. technology, the demonstration of the Natrium technology will lead to a new wave of advanced nuclear energy deployment around the world,” added Levesque.
TerraPower is a leading nuclear innovation company that strives to improve the world through nuclear energy and science. Since it was founded by Bill Gates and a group of like-minded visionaries, TerraPower has emerged as an incubator and developer of ideas and technologies that offer energy independence, environmental sustainability, medical advancement and other cutting-edge opportunities. It accepts and tackles some of the world’s most difficult challenges. Behind each of its innovations and programs, TerraPower actively works to bring together the strengths and experiences of the world’s public and private sectors to use advanced nuclear to answer pressing global needs. Learn more at https://www.terrapower.com/.
About GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy
Based in Wilmington, N.C., GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) is a world-leading provider of advanced reactors and nuclear services. Established in 2007, GEH is a global nuclear alliance created by GE and Hitachi to serve the global nuclear industry. The nuclear alliance executes a single, strategic vision to create a broader portfolio of solutions, expanding its capabilities for new reactor and service opportunities. The alliance offers customers around the world the technological leadership required to effectively enhance reactor performance, power output and safety. Follow GEH on LinkedIn and Twitter.