TerraPower and PacifiCorp announce efforts to expand Natrium technology deployment

BELLEVUE, Wash. — TerraPower, a nuclear innovation company, and PacifiCorp, a regulated utility, announced today their undertaking of a joint study to evaluate the feasibility of deploying up to five additional Natrium[1] reactor and integrated energy storage systems in the PacifiCorp service territory by 2035.

PacifiCorp and TerraPower announced last year their plans to bring the Natrium demonstration plant to Kemmerer, Wyoming, where a PacifiCorp coal-fueled power plant is slated for retirement. The companies’ combined commitment to providing carbon-free energy solutions, while maintaining grid reliability and integrating baseload power that can support intermittent energy resources, make the Natrium technology ideal for deployment across PacifiCorp’s system.

“This joint study is a significant step toward building the energy grid of the future for PacifiCorp’s customers and a tangible example of the promise advanced nuclear brings to utilities serious about leading the nation’s energy transition,” said TerraPower President and CEO Chris Levesque. “We have been impressed and humbled by our work with the Kemmerer community and PacifiCorp. We look forward to evaluating new potential sites for Natrium plants that have the same energy expertise and capabilities as our demonstration site.”

“The study will allow us to explore a carbon-free, dispatchable energy resource that could provide reliable power to our customers,” said Gary Hoogeveen, president and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp. “This is just a first step, as advanced nuclear power needs to be evaluated through our resource planning processes as well as receive regulatory approval. But it’s an exciting opportunity that advances us down the path to a net zero energy future.”

By working together on the Natrium demonstration plant and jointly studying the feasibility of adding up to five additional commercial units by 2035, TerraPower and PacifiCorp seek to identify opportunities to reduce cost for PacifiCorp’s customers and more broadly deploy advanced Natrium reactors.  

The joint study will evaluate, among other things, the potential for advanced reactors to be located near current fossil-fueled generation sites, enabling PacifiCorp to repurpose existing generation and transmission assets for the benefit of its customers. The location of future Natrium plants will be thoroughly explored through this study process, and both companies will engage with local communities before any final sites are selected. 

Congress and the Department of Energy under the Biden Administration have taken proactive steps to continue to support the deployment of advanced nuclear technologies as part of a suite of solutions aimed at achieving carbon-free goals. With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and recent studies on the opportunities of a coal-to-nuclear energy transition, the role for advanced nuclear is clear. TerraPower and PacifiCorp remain committed to bringing the Natrium technology to market and providing reliability and stability to the grid as well as to energy producing communities.

[1]  Natrium reactor is a TerraPower and GE Hitachi technology

About TerraPower

TerraPower is a leading nuclear innovation company that strives to improve the world through nuclear energy and science. Since it was founded by Bill Gates and a group of like-minded visionaries, TerraPower has emerged as an incubator and developer of ideas and technologies that offer energy independence, environmental sustainability, medical advancement and other cutting-edge opportunities. It accepts and tackles some of the world’s most difficult challenges. Behind each of its innovations and programs, TerraPower actively works to bring together the strengths and experiences of the world’s public and private sectors to answer pressing global needs. Learn more at terrapower.com.