Wyoming receives nuclear investment

Michael Cummo, Wyoming Tribune Eagle photo Gov. Mark Gordon, left, and Sen. John Barrasso shake hands during the press conference announcing a demonstration Natrium nuclear power plant in Wyoming.

WYOMING – The announcement Gov. Mark Gordon teased for days was finally shared on Wednesday morning and foreshadowed a massive investment in Wyoming’s energy futures.

TerraPower and PacifiCorp officially announced a Natrium reactor demonstration project at a retiring coal plant in Wyoming. The exact location is yet to be determined, as there are several potential sites. Gordon’s office expects a location announcement by the end of this year.

“I am thrilled to see Wyoming selected for this demonstration pilot project, as our great state is the perfect place for this type of innovative utility facility and our coal-experienced workforce is looking forward to the jobs this project will provide,” Gordon said.

A release from Gordon’s office alluded to the financial investment this means to Wyoming, although financials in the deal were not disclosed. For reference, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded TerraPower $80 million in initial funding last October.

“We are currently conducting joint due diligence to ensure this opportunity is cost-effective for our customers and a great fit for Wyoming and the communities we serve,” Rocky Mountain Power President and CEO Gary Hoogeveen said. Rocky Mountain Power is a business unit of PacifiCorp.

Wyoming Senate President Dan Dockstader commended those involved in helping Wyoming develop energy solutions to keep communities viable and thrive in a changing economy. Wyoming Speaker of the House Eric Barlow credited Wyoming’s energy history and welcomed new partners in helping the state continue its energy innovations.

“Together with PacifiCorp, we’re creating the energy grid of the future where advanced nuclear technologies provide good-paying jobs and clean energy for years to come,” president and CEO of TerraPower, Chris Levesque, said.

Bill Gates, the founder of TerraPower, was also present (via video conference) for the ceremony that included Sen. John Barrasso.

“The country is going to continue to depend on Wyoming energy for decades and decades to come,” Barrasso said.