Bill Gates will build your experimental nuclear mini-mirror in a remote US area

Kemmerer, a remote town of 2,700 inhabitants located in the mountainous desert that separates Wyoming from the Idaho and Utah states, is going to become one of

Bill Gates will build your experimental nuclear mini-mirror in a remote US area

Kemmerer, a remote town of 2,700 inhabitants located in the mountainous desert that separates Wyoming from the Idaho and Utah states, is going to become one of the world's nuclear energy capitals. Because there -Literally, in the middle of any place- is where the company Terrapower is going to build its first experimental nuclear mini-reactur, using a new technology designed by the company. If the calendar is met, the plant will be operational in 2028.

The construction of the new plant is relevant for many reasons. The most obvious, the names: Terrapower is a company founded by Bill Gates, through its investment vehicle Cascade Investiments, and the nuclear power plant will belong to the electric Pacificcorp, owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the Conglomerate of Warren Buffett. Another highlighted participant in the project is the richest man in Asia, the Indian Mukesh Ambani, which has a seat in the Terrapower Board of Directors due to the investment made through his Reliance company.

Thus, the three protagonists are among the twelve others fortunes in the world, and two of them-Gates and Buffett - are also the greatest philanthropists of the Earth. There are, in addition, universities (Vanderbilt) and the US state, which has financed a large part of the investigation and development of the new reactor. In fact, approximately half of 4,000 million dollars (about 3,500 million euros) that will cost the plant will be borne by the US Government through the Joe Biden infrastructure plan that was approved ten days ago.

Terrapower expects to reduce in the future the cost of these reactors by 75%, up to 1,000 million dollars (880 million euros), which could make them tremendously competitive. The reactor will be small. It will have a generation of 345 megawatts, which will be able to grow until 500 in case there is demand for it.

The second element is the technological. The Kemmerer plant will have an experimental reactor. Instead of using water to cool the process, it will use liquid sodium. That, according to Terrapower, drastically reduces the risk of accidents, since sodium has more capacity to absorb heat and, in addition, eliminates the need for an external power source to the plant to maintain the temperature under control. That makes, for example, an accident like that of Fukushima, in Japan, in 2011, be impossible. The plants of this type will also have more energy storage capacity and will produce less 'atomic garbage'. Critics, however, say that the use of sodium can cause explosions.

The third factor is the work. Kemmerer is a mining city, in which the main source of jobs is the Nougton thermal, which has reducing its operations since 2019 and currently produces 440 megawatts of electricity, but which will end up closely by 2025 as coal is Expelled outside the market for natural gas and renewables, which are cheaper. Now, the nuclear will generate, according to Terrapower, 2,500 jobs during its construction phase and 250 more when it is operational. They are huge figures in Lincoln County, where the Kemmerer is, which is a region with an extension similar to that of Asturias and only 18,000 inhabitants. Politically, the region is as republican as the rest of Wyoming, which indicates that, in principle, there will be no rejection of the new nuclear.

And, finally, there is the environmental reason. The development of nuclear energy is one of the options shuffled to combat climate change. And, if Terrapower manages to demonstrate that its 'mini-reactors' are more efficient, safe and cheap than the current ones, it can be, according to some experts, one of the strategies to avoid an unprecedented catastrophe.

Updated Date: 24 November 2021, 18:14

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