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Bill Gates' $4 billion high-tech nuclear reactor set for Wyoming coal site

CommoditiesNov 16, 2021 07:16PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Bill Gates reacts during the Global Investment Summit at the Science Museum, in London, Britain, October 19, 2021. Leon Neal/Pool via REUTERS

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An advanced nuclear power venture founded by billionaire Bill Gates said on Tuesday it has chosen a town in Wyoming as the site to build a $4 billion demonstration plant that will get half its funding from the U.S. government.

TerraPower's Natrium plant will be built in Kemmerer, a remote western Wyoming town where the Naughton coal plant is due to shut in 2025. Pending permits, the 345 megawatt plant will open in 2028, which is the timeline mandated by Congress.

The project will get about $1.9 billion from the federal government including $1.5 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Joe Biden signed this week. The bill included about $2.5 billion for advanced nuclear reactors.

"It's a very serious government grant," said Chris Levesque, president and CEO of TerraPower, which is partnering with GE Hitachi (OTC:HTHIY) Nuclear Energy. "This was necessary because the U.S. government and the U.S. nuclear industry was falling behind," he told reporters.

The United States has been competing with China and Russia which also hope to build advanced reactors and export them.

Advanced reactors are expected to be smaller than traditional ones and theoretically be built in remote locations. The Natrium reactor would be fueled by uranium enriched up to 20%, a far higher level than today's fuel.

Some nuclear power experts say the more highly enriched fuel could be an attractive target for militants looking to create a crude nuclear weapon.

Advanced reactor proponents say the plants are safer and create less waste.

Gates had initially hoped to build an experimental nuclear plant near Beijing with state-owned China National Nuclear Corp. But TerraPower was forced to seek new partners after the administration of Donald Trump restricted nuclear deals with China.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the plant would give hope to a town where a coal plant will shut. "The energy communities that have powered us for generations have real opportunities to power our clean energy future through projects just like this one."

Bill Gates' $4 billion high-tech nuclear reactor set for Wyoming coal site
 

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Comments (9)
Daniel DeAugustine
Daniel DeAugustine Nov 19, 2021 4:03PM ET
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finally if we had switched to nuclear as soon as we could have climate change wouldn't be so bad today
Donald Hart
Donald Hart Nov 19, 2021 12:20PM ET
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Because you can't get huge government grants for water power!! It has already been invented and it works. Government is full of crooks!!
Kerry Drake
Kerry Drake Nov 19, 2021 7:55AM ET
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water driven turbines seem to be the answer, why do they not do more of those on major rivers.
Steven Kemp
Steven Kemp Nov 18, 2021 5:38PM ET
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thats because thats where he lives and cares about himself and knows silar and wind arent cutting it
Don Master
Don Master Nov 18, 2021 12:25PM ET
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I obey u big daddy
Jay Jay
Jay Jay Nov 17, 2021 7:39AM ET
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What a bunch of loonies on this board. Its freaking Energy!!! the area will need it. Think about the whole southwest as well. Grand Canyon Dam power plant is gonna be soon shutdown as well.
John Lee
John Lee Nov 17, 2021 7:39AM ET
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Obviously Nuclear is THE technology and should be at least 50% of the Energy Mix to give alternatives a chance of being useful in the real world. The more and advanced and specialized we can get the better. Russia has methods that leave almost no Radiation left at all ... one day that can be economically feasible. Energy IS the Real Currency.
Ethel Basset
Ethel Basset Nov 16, 2021 8:59PM ET
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Sounds like payback for campaign contributions.
Greg Hamilton
OptionsTrader Nov 16, 2021 8:44PM ET
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Let's see, the Gov basically hates the mega wealthy cause they don't pay enough taxes, and now the Gov gives nearly 2B to Bill Gates?!
By designe
Bydesigne Nov 16, 2021 8:44PM ET
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Where do you get that idea that they hate them? The fact is they love them, for their donations they give.
Jay Perez
Jay Perez Nov 16, 2021 8:44PM ET
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if gates is so sure of his project why he does not pay for it himself, of wait 2 billions of his money will be used to continue his eugenics program in the world and he needs the rest of the sheep to finance the other half, what a hipocrat.
Jose Maderno
Jose Maderno Nov 16, 2021 8:18PM ET
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Yeah, Bill will hire lots of coal miners to run his nuclear plant.  You can count on it.  While he stuffs more Federal dollars in his pocket.  Slime ball.  You don't have to believe me.... ask IBM.
 
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