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BWX Technologies awarded contract for phase 2 of nuclear viability evaluation for Wyoming

Jim Bridger Power Plant in Sweetwater County, (Shutterstock)

CASPER, Wyo. — BWX Technologies, an engineering services company based out of Virginia specializing in nuclear technologies, announced today that it has been granted the second phase of a contract to assess the viability of deploying small-scale reactors in the state.

The contract with the Wyoming Energy Authority is designed to assess the feasibility of augmenting already existing energy resource facilities with small nuclear reactors. In the initial phase, BWXT worked with the energy authority to “define the requirements for nuclear applications of base heat and power needs for remote, off-grid applications within the state,” according to a release by BWXT.

According to the release, the total value of the cost-share program associated with the contract is approximately $20 million.

In that first phase, the company also performed microreactor system engineering work that could potentially assist in meeting Wyoming’s future energy needs and identified areas within the state where reactor component manufacturing could take place.

The second phase, which BWXT was just awarded, now requires the technology company to complete a conceptual design of a lead microreactor unit and develop a regulatory engagement plan and microreactor fleet model. According to the release, BWXT is also tasked with demonstrating to the Wyoming Energy Authority that Wyoming has the supply chain capabilities to manufacture nuclear components in-state.

In the release, BWXT Advanced Technologies President Joe Miller said that the company has already seen a high level of support for the opportunities that microreactors have for the state.

“Our meetings with numerous stakeholders have been very productive, and our workshops in Gillette, Cheyenne and Casper with potential local vendors have been well-attended,” Miller said. “We look forward to taking this next step forward with the Wyoming Energy Authority and very much appreciate the vision of a clean, reliable and practical energy future demonstrated by both Governor Mark Gordon and the Authority’s Executive Director Rob Creager.”

Through the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, BWXT and the U.S. Department of Energy have been developing a portable microreactor model since 2021. According to the release, this contract work in Wyoming represents an acceleration in the efforts to expand commercial nuclear development efforts into the state.

Wyoming Energy Authority Executive Director Rob Creager said in the release that the work completed under phase one of this effort has proven that nuclear energy has great potential in Wyoming.

“As the world’s demand for reliable, affordable baseload power only increases over the next fifty years, we see nuclear as a valuable investment to Wyoming’s already robust energy portfolio,” Creager said in the release.

The Idaho National Laboratory has been cooperating with the Department of Energy and state of Wyoming since 2022 to provide technological support to the state under a memorandum of understanding. INL Strategic Programs Senior Advisor Dr. Steven Aumeier said that economic opportunity regarding non-traditional applications of nuclear energy is growing in certain markets and that those markets could benefit tremendously from it.

“This acceleration of Wyoming’s leadership in the future of nuclear energy is very timely to meet this new frontier of global opportunity,” Aumeier said.

The second phase of the contract is slated to be completed by late 2025. To read the full press release and to learn more about BWX Technologies, see the company’s web page.