Billionaires Back Building of Small Modular Reactors at Abandoned Fossil Site

Journal of Petroleum Technology 

Two of the world's wealthiest men have put their vast resources behind what the nuclear industry calls small modular reactors (SMRs) in the quest for the perfect carbon-free energy source. TerraPower, founded by Bill Gates, and PacifiCorp, owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, are sponsors of the project. The first SMR from TerraPower, the Natrium reactor project, will be built in Wyoming--the nation's primary coal producer--at the very location that once housed a coal station, where the infrastructure for a steam-cycle power plant and distribution to the electrical grid already exist. Last year, the state legislature passed a law authorizing utilities to replace coal or natural gas generation with small nuclear reactors and the US Department of Energy awarded TerraPower $80 million in initial funding to demonstrate Natrium technology; the department has committed additional funding subject to congressional approvals. Just ask anyone in Texas where a combination of frozen wind turbines and unprecedented demand last winter darkened the state for days.

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