Bill Gates’ nuclear energy firm TerraPower and power company PacifiCorp — owned by Warren Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway — teamed up in September 2020 to launch the Natrium project. It’s about a small modular reactor they say will be commercially viable by 2030.
Many countries are weighing smaller, so-called modular, nuclear reactors as a way backing up low emission energy production during the transition from fossil fuel dependence to one based on renewable energy sources.
Gates said the site of the reactor to be built by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy will be in Wyoming, the United States’ top coal-producing state. “We think Natrium will be a game-changer for the energy industry,” he said.
The US Clean Energy Transformation Act requires the elimination of coal by 2025 and full decarbonization of the grid by 2045. The US Department of Energy has awarded TerraPower $80 million (€70 million) to develop its ideas.