Research & Development

Advanced Reactors / PacifiCorp Making Plans For Two More Natrium Nuclear Plants

By David Dalton
6 April 2023

Technology being developed by company founded by Bill Gates
PacifiCorp Making Plans For Two More Natrium Nuclear Plants
The first Natrium plant is being planned for the Naughton coal-fuelled site in Wyoming. Courtesy PacifiCorp.
US power company PacifiCorp is planning two additional Natrium nuclear reactor and energy storage systems as part of its generation resource mix by 2033.

The company’s 2023 integrated resource plan outlines plans for 1,500 MW of advanced nuclear energy from three Natrium reactors. The first is being planned for PacifiCorp’s Naughton coal-fuelled power site which is scheduled for retirement in Kemmerer, Wyoming.

TerraPower, founded by Bill Gates, said it is working with PacifiCorp to explore the possibility of deploying additional Natrium units by 2035.

The two additional Natrium plants proposed in the resource plan are planned for Utah, but both companies will engage with local communities before any final sites are selected, TerraPower said. 

PacifiCorp said that with recent federal legislation and studies on the opportunities of a coal-to-nuclear energy transition, it remains committed to bringing the Natrium technology to market for the benefit of grid reliability and stability for energy-producing communities in Wyoming and Utah.

The Natrium plant features a 345-MW sodium-cooled fast reactor with a molten salt-based energy storage system. The storage technology can boost the system’s output to 500 MW of power for more than five and a half hours when needed, which is equivalent to the energy required to power around 400,000 homes.

Gates said earlier this year that TerraPower is looking for more sites as the company steps up efforts to deploy the Natrium reactor technology beyond the first proposed location in Wyoming.

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