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Bellevue-based TerraPower gets $80 million
federal grant to develop next-generation
nuclear power plant

Original Article

Posted By: Ron_lfp, 10/18/2020 11:35:49 AM

Bellevue-based TerraPower, chaired by Bill Gates, has received a $80 million federal Energy Department grant, the first installment of what is intended to be a seven-year effort to test, license and build its first advanced nuclear-reactor plant. Possible U.S. locations for the plant include a site near Richland, where Energy Northwest, which is collaborating with TerraPower, operates Washington’s only commercial nuclear power plant, according to Energy Northwest officials. (snip) The goal of this technology — called Natrium — is the creation of a more flexible generating plant that, when demand surges, could tap into the heat

Comments:

If you want carbon-free electricity nuclear fits.

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Reply 1 - Posted by: swarfer 10/18/2020 12:12:00 PM (No. 576416)
Next generation nuclear plant designs have been around for decades. There aren't any new technologies just numerous ones which haven't gone anywhere. New designs already approved are vastly safer and simpler than earlier designs. Kudos to Gates to get taxpayer funding to rehash splitting the atom for projects that will never be built. Nuclear is a heavy industry, concrete, stainless steel, pressure vessels, uranium mining, processing, etc not a tech startup. Next generation nuclear the solution rather than millions of gigantic ugly wind machines but opposition is just insurmountable to wide spread adoption.
4 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: DVC 10/18/2020 12:19:15 PM (No. 576425)
Not a huge amount of money, but probably good news. Nuclear power has real potential. The Natrium system is a liquid sodium cooled fast reactor which then heats a large quantity of a salt (not the same as table salt) a chemical that melts from a solid to a liquid to store heat. It takes a large amount of energy to melt things, and that is gotten back when that molten salt re-solidifies, so the molten sale unit is a heat storage method. There is no theoretical limit on how many times that the salt can be melted and solidified. The molten salt is your energy storage, allowing rapid surges in electrical power, presumably to compensate for the miserable unreliability of wind and solar power. The electricity is generated with a conventional steam turbine, using the heat created in the reactor and stored in the molten salt system. The only reason for the expensive, complex and potentially dangerous molten salt storage is to get the surge capability to offset the sudden loss of wind and solar that ALWAYS happens. IMO, it is unnecessarily complex.....use the nuclear power directly to power your homes, and no need for the storage. Just stop the stupid, expensive, unreliable wind and solar. This is a system designed to provide the base load when unrealiable wind and solar inevitably crap out. It's a wind and solar band-aid, IMO. Natrium is Bill Gates funded.....that makes me nervous.
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Reply 3 - Posted by: jj1319 10/18/2020 1:22:03 PM (No. 576479)
This is good news on the face of it but be cautious: Gates is involved and $80 million won't pave the parking lot.
4 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: Christopher L 10/18/2020 4:48:16 PM (No. 576626)
I agree with #’s 2 & 3, Bill Gates involvement makes me nervous. But one of the advantages of Molten Salt or Thorium reactors is that there is very, very little nuclear waste. Most of the fissile material is consumed by the process.
1 person likes this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: KTWO 10/18/2020 11:42:30 PM (No. 576837)
Good news. I share some of the doubts expressed by others but next generation nuclear is going to be built. The question is whether it will be built by and benefit us. Other nations will forge ahead anyway. ' next generation' nuclear is not exactly a leap forward because the USA's previous 'generation' was designed and mostly built over 50 years ago. These better approaches have long been known. OT a little. I remember that storing solar heat in molten salts for use in heating homes during winter was seriously tried over sixty years ago. It was sort of a 'gee whiz' futuristic architectural toy. I saw one of the models but never investigated the costs or problems.
0 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: Strike3 10/19/2020 8:09:37 AM (No. 577004)
I like the idea of further imrovement and advancement of nuclear power but share suspicions on this one. Mentioning Bill Gates, wind, solar and climate change in the same article detracts from the core topic. We do not have to placate the green weenies every time we build something. Their goal is to have everybody on bicycles and delivery of food and materials performed by oxcart.
0 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: kono 10/19/2020 11:16:01 AM (No. 577238)
How fortuitous to the Seattle economy, in the wake of Boeing's relocation announcement.
0 people like this.

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Bellevue-based TerraPower gets $80 million
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Posted by Ron_lfp 10/18/2020 11:35:49 AM Post Reply
Bellevue-based TerraPower, chaired by Bill Gates, has received a $80 million federal Energy Department grant, the first installment of what is intended to be a seven-year effort to test, license and build its first advanced nuclear-reactor plant. Possible U.S. locations for the plant include a site near Richland, where Energy Northwest, which is collaborating with TerraPower, operates Washington’s only commercial nuclear power plant, according to Energy Northwest officials. (snip) The goal of this technology — called Natrium — is the creation of a more flexible generating plant that, when demand surges, could tap into the heat
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