TerraPower, one of the companies racing to build a small modular reactor (SMR), announced it raised $750 million.
The effort was co-led by SK Group and TerraPower founder Bill Gates. SK, one of South Korea's largest energy providers, invested $250 million.
With partner GE-Hitachi, TerraPower plans to build an experimental SMR plant near a retiring coal plant. The company will build its Natrium plant in Kemmerer, a southwestern Wyoming city of 2,600 where the coal-fired Naughton power plant operated by PacifiCorp subsidiary Rocky Mountain Power is set to close in 2025.
Proponents of the project featuring a sodium-cooled fast reactor and molten salt energy storage say it would perform better, be safer and cost less than traditional nuclear power.
The high-operating temperature of the Natrium reactor, coupled with thermal energy storage, would allow the plant to provide flexible electric output that complements variable renewable generation such as wind and solar. In addition, this project would establish a new metal fuel fabrication facility that is scaled to meet the needs of this demonstration program.
In 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) awarded TerraPower and X-energy $80 million each in initial funding to build two advanced nuclear reactors to be operational within seven years. The funding comes from DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration program (ARDP).