https://safirsoft.com Nuclear power company Bill Gates chooses the site for its first reactor

The first such reactor will be built in Wyoming with significant support from the Department of Energy.

On Tuesday, TerraPower, the Bill Gates-backed US nuclear power company, announced that it had selected a site. Because what will be the first reactor. Kemer, Wyoming, with a population of about 2,500, was the site of the Naton coal-fired power plant, which is shutting down. The TerraPower project will be replaced by a 345-megawatt reactor, pioneering a number of technologies that have not been used commercially before.

This includes a reactor design that requires minimal refueling, liquid sodium cooling and a molten salt heat storage system that provides the flexibility to better integrate with the plant's renewable energy.

Public - Private

While TerraPower is a name clearly associated with the project, many other parties are involved in the project. The company is perhaps best known for its support of Bill Gates, now the company's chairman, who touted nuclear power as a partial solution to the climate crisis. The company was chosen by the US Department of Energy to build an experimental reactor, a name that guarantees construction of at least $180 million and could generate billions of dollars in revenue over the next few years.

This is a reactor. It is not a TerraPower project per se. The reactor design is being developed jointly with GE Hitachi Nuclear Power. A company called Bechtel will help with the construction, which requires a workforce of about 80 percent of Kemer's population.

This design includes a number of technologies that are rarely or never tested. So this is not going to be a simple project. TerraPower and GE Hitachi are launching Project Natrium and have launched a website to describe it. Here are some of the main differences.

Quite different

First of all, the plant does not use water to transfer heat out of the reactor. Instead, you will use liquid sodium. This main advantage is that sodium does not boil at any temperature to which it is exposed in the reactor. This means that none of the devices with the coolant is exposed to high pressures, which greatly simplifies the task. However, sodium reacts easily with air and reacts with water explosively, which raises a number of concerns, as worldwide, only about 25 major reactors have been built using sodium cooling. Many are made for research purposes only and only a few work. The last case was built in the US in 1965, and the last one closed in 1994. So, it's fair to say that companies don't have a lot of hands-on experience using them.

Sodium-cooled designs, unlike water-cooled designs, do not reduce neutrons from fission reactions. That is why they are often called "fast reactors". Fast neutrons have the ability to convert isotopes that do not produce useful fuel, allowing them to produce more fuel during operation. . The reactor is powered by an enriched core as it converts the excess material into useful fuel, which will be absorbed when the first fuel runs out. This process can be repeated in several conversion layers, which limits the downtime required for refueling. But again, it has never been used commercially before.

This reactor has a number of features that should provide passive safety and keep its internal temperature limited even in the case of poor cooling circulation. /p>

Plays Well With Others

Finally, TerraPower does not convert heat from the reactor into direct energy. Instead, it stores it as molten salt. As a result, although the reactor is rated at 345 MW, the plant will be able to generate 500 MW during periods of high demand or reduce production if demand drops. This allows the plant to better follow the daily cycles of demand. Additionally, heat storage allows the Kemmerer site to better integrate with the increasing use of renewable energy (Wyoming is a major producer of wind energy).

In general, each of these differences has risks. Incorporating them all into one plan means that the project will be very difficult to implement, especially in the planned timeline of seven years. However, if successful, we can finally see if the costs of advanced nuclear designs can remain competitive as the costs of storage-backed renewable energy decline.

Nuclear power company Bill Gates chooses the site for its first reactor
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