Terrapower Fast Reactor Construction Start Targeted for 2023

TerraPower hopes to apply for a construction permit in August 2023 and an operating licence in March 2026 for its Natrium fast reactor, according to a regulatory engagement plan (REP) it has sent to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy brought together their decades of unparalleled design expertise and technical capabilities to develop the Natrium™ technology, which features a cost-competitive sodium fast reactor combined with a molten salt energy storage system.

They plan to make a 345 MWe reactor with gigawatt hour scale molten salt energy storage.

TerraPower and GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas joined forces in 2019 to develop the Natrium technology, which features a sodium-cooled fast reactor combined with a molten salt energy storage system. The ratings for the Natrium reactor will be 840 MWt and the energy island will have the capability to produce up to 500 MWe.

TerraPower and GEH are backed by Bechtel Power Corporation and utility partners Energy Northwest, Duke Energy, and PacifiCorp.

Earlier this month, TerraPower and PacifiCorp announced plans to construct a Natrium reactor demonstration project at a retiring coal plant in the state of Wyoming. They expect to announce the specific site by the end of this year.

The demonstration project in Wyoming will be a fully functioning power plant and is intended to validate the design, construction and operational features of the Natrium technology, TerraPower said. The next steps include further project evaluation, education and outreach, and state and federal regulatory approvals prior to the acquisition of a Natrium facility.

SOURCES- Terrapower, World Nuclear News
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

24 thoughts on “Terrapower Fast Reactor Construction Start Targeted for 2023”

  1. Nope. 40 feet long x 9 feet wide x 12 feet high = 4,320 cu.ft @ 35.3 ft3/m3 = 122.4m3 — but a good 53-footer, higher and wider is almost 185m3 (not loadable, just volume, road to roof. So 800m3 is a bit of a caravan – not huge but substantial.

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  2. You made that up – the Russians had a number of minor fires with their earlier BN reactors, till they sorted out how to stop them leaking, and their was a fire at Monju, the Japanese experimental reactor, but the extensive French, British, German, Chinese, Indian and US programs did not.
    Sodium is much more forgiving than water in an overheating situation, because the metal's boiling point is far higher than for water, giving plenty of time to do something about it. They can be designed so that overheating automatically shuts down the reactor, through doppler broadening cutting down neutron absorption, and expansion of the fuel and assembly grid.

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  3. Sodium cooling, its still a fission reactor nothing new except that sodium is flammable when it hits air and or water. I don't think the residents of Cody will be that impressed. That may be the reason Gates bought all that ground.

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  4. While perusing Terrapower's website, I noticed they write their " second advanced reactor design" is a fast spectrum MSR using sodium chloride salts. Why isn't it the design they want to build now?
    My guess is they have been asked why not MSR so often, they deflect by mentioning their second choice. I wish Gates, and Buffet would back Elysium's fast spectrum MSR.

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  5. To be fair, a conventional reactor can melt if cooling water is lost – Fukushima. However, there is time to evacuate people away from the danger. That was not the case at Chernobyl.

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  6. I'm sure reactor coolant Sodium will have an intermediate Sodium loop that connects to the salt tank.

    It is all at atmospheric pressure so no issues on that end. Salt corrosion is the only real concern.

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  7. Then we have the suspect safety of sodium fast reactors. Unlike conventional water reactors, overheating can alter the cores structure and lead to violent disassembly of the core – think Chernobyl. That issue and sodium fires will likely wrap the design around the axle when going thru the licensing process. That means more money spent and schedules delayed

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  8. The target dates are unlikely, given the lengthy time frames and exorbitant costs to license such facilities. Further, sodium cooled fast reactors have an utterly dismal operational history, replete with numerous fires from leaking sodium. The financial record is worse, with billions and billions of dollars spent and nothing to show

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  9. I'm guessing a world wide gas and coal shortage would be required. Or if global temperature really did jump 5 degrees.

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  10. The opening sentence of

    … hopes to apply for a construction permit…

    Fills me with the same certainty as a 5 year old telling me they will be a "space man" when they grow up.

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  11. the real fun is the sodium to solar salt heat exchanger. Breakthrough to the oxidizing side is going to be "fun", for various definitions of fun…

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  12. Using a coolant that combusts spontaneously in air seems like a less good technology choice than using inert chloride or fluoride salts. Though there are obviously compelling benefits to overcome that downside. It's good to see fast reactors coming to the fore.

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  13. We are always just 10 years away from new and safer fission systems. Been that way for 50 years. Worked briefly in commercial nuclear power and realized that it was just an endless exercise in filling out paper. Some firms have learned to exist on relatively small study contracts from DoE, National Labs and similar entities in other countries, but nothing ever gets built commercially.

    In US, we would much rather achieve our "green revolution" with regulation and control of people's energy usage than actually building carbon neutral generating plants.

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  14. Is it just me, or are solid fuel reactors just more dangerous? Is it just me that it would be better if the primary coolant did not combust when exposed to air, or water? If you want a fast spectrum reactor building up all sorts of transuranic elements, at least go molten chloride salt for the planet's sake. A MSR would be cheaper to fuel with PWR used fuel too.

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  15. I'm not even sure what remarkable 'perfect storm' of circumstances have to occur at the levels of regulatory, financing, insurance, and local community 'forces' for a shovel to hit the ground before the early 2030s.

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