CASPER, Wyo. — The State of Wyoming is partnering with Batelle Energy Alliance, the operating contractor of the Idaho National Laboratory, for “research, development, demonstration and deployment of advanced energy technologies and approaches,” Governor Mark Gordon’s office said in a press release Wednesday.
The new partnership will focus on the nuclear fuel cycle of so-called “advanced” nuclear reactors, with Wyoming set to become home to TerraPower’s Natrium demonstration project. That $4 billion sodium-cooled fast reactor is expected to be constructed in Kemmerer and could come online as soon as 2028, according to TerraPower.
“While the Natrium project is a great start, it is my intent that we are also able to establish a nuclear industry and a sophisticated and advanced manufacturing capacity using Wyoming uranium, Wyoming technology and Wyoming workers,” Gordon said in the press release regarding the new memorandum of understanding with Batelle Energy Alliance. “This MOU will assist in this effort.”
The five-year agreement between the state and Batelle Energy Alliance will allow research and development of hydrogen production, transportation and consumption in industrial applications related to nuclear technology and will also explore “other advanced energy systems through a regional to global approach,” the press release states. It also encourages cooperation between the state and the Idaho National Laboratory for training and education or uranium and nuclear energy industries.
“This MOU formalizes and structures a relationship that has been developing over several years,” Dr. Glen Murrell, executive director of the Wyoming Energy Authority, said in the press release. “The INL’s expertise and impartiality will play a critical role in the ongoing execution of Wyoming’s all-of-the-above energy strategy.”