Energy Northwest in Richland to help with new type of nuclear reactor via Tri-City Herald

Energy Northwest in Richland will help an emerging nuclear company, Terrestrial Energy USA, with a new type of commercial nuclear reactor.

Energy Northwest, which operates the Pacific Northwest’s only nuclear power reactor, already has a similar agreement with another nuclear company, NuScale Power of Oregon.

Both companies working with Energy Northwest want to operate a plant in Idaho.


Terrestrial, established in 2013, is developing a new type of nuclear power plant, an Integral Molten Salt Reactor.

The reactor will use a liquid nuclear fuel — a molten salt — rather than solid uranium fuel.

The technology was pioneered at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and demonstrated in two experimental reactors, but the technology has yet to be used commercially.

The reactor component would be inside a sealed and replaceable reactor core planned to last seven years.

Each reactor unit would produce 190 megawatts of electricity or heat for industrial processes.

Terrestrial says its design will produce a reactor that is simple to operate, cost competitive and could be constructed in four years with an upfront investment of less than $1 billion.

Its goal is to have a reactor commissioned in the 2020s.

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