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Terrapower selects Bechtel as Natrium reactor partner

(WNN) | Updated: 2020-10-12
2020-10-12 (WNN)

TerraPower has selected Bechtel as its design, licensing, procurement and construction partner in a federal grant application to build a demonstration plant for the Natrium reactor and energy system architecture. TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) launched the Natrium concept in August. It features a 345 MWe sodium fast reactor combined with a molten salt energy storage.

The storage technology can boost the system's output to 500MWe of power for more than five-and-a-half hours when needed, providing flexibility, and the system supports load following, energy storage and industrial process heat applications. The concept also separates nuclear and non-nuclear facilities and systems within the plant footprint, simplifying the licensing process and lowering construction costs.

"Natrium fulfils the industry vision of what a true advanced reactor should be - safer, simpler, easier and less costly to construct, less expensive to operate, and able to provide energy that is competitive with fossil fuels and complementary to solar and wind power," said Barbara Rusinko, president of Bechtel’s Nuclear, Security & Environmental global business unit.

The partnership is part of a proposal led by TerraPower for the US Department of Energy's Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, which was launched in May. The programme aims to speed the demonstration of advanced reactors through cost-shared partnerships with US industry, and will provide USD160 million for initial funding to build two reactors that can be operational within the next five to seven years.

As well as GEH and Bechtel, the TerraPower-led team includes PacifiCorp, Energy Northwest, and Duke Energy.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News