Wyoming Politicians Announce Support for Proposed Nuclear Plant
Following the announcement by Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon of a proposed nuclear power plant at a retiring coal plant, people like Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney and others have offered their support as well.
Cheney said in a press release:
"This is an important and exciting day for Wyoming...Nuclear power is a key element in the all-of-the-above energy approach that our state and country must follow. That approach also needs to include the continued utilization of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas, which are national treasures in Wyoming and are dependable energy resources. I want to thank the private sector partners from TerraPower and Rocky Mountain Power for recognizing the substantial benefits that operating a nuclear power plant in Wyoming will bring."
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso also applauded the decision, with remarks he delivered on Wednesday announcing the project.
"The country is going to continue to depend on Wyoming energy for decades and decades to come. Our families who live here are going to benefit from those jobs and the communities in which they live are going to benefit as well. I am delighted to be here to celebrate this remarkable day with these folks who are going to bring the Natrium advanced nuclear power to Wyoming."
Wyoming Senator Cynthia Lummis also announced her support of the project, tweeting:
"Wyoming powers America, and I’m proud of the work that Governor Gordon and Senator Barrasso have done to advance nuclear energy production here. It’s great to see TerraPower and PacifiCorp recognize what we in Wyoming have always known: there’s no better place to do business. I look forward to supporting this project and continuing to support Wyoming’s place as the number one net energy exporter in the nation."
At the state level, Cyrus Western, Wyoming State Legislature Representative for House District 51, who serves on the Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee, said he appreciates the move to build a nuclear plant in Wyoming.
"I think we have to leave all options on the table, and I think nuclear power, despite some of the stigma, can be a very reliable and safe method of producing energy."
Western said the stigma is because of events like the Three Mile Island incident, which halted construction on nuclear power plants across the country for decades, and is part of the reason Wyoming does not generate any power from nuclear energy.
David Eskelsen, company spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power and PacifiCorp, said the natrium reactor is a demonstration of what the reactor can do, and will generate 345 megawatts of power.
Terrapower will be responsible for construction of the plant, and when completed Rocky Mountain Power will take over the plant.
In October 2020, Terrapower was awarded $80 million by the Department of Energy through its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) to build the natrium reactor.
According to the Department of Energy's website, money award through the ARDP is given with the expectation that a fully functioning nuclear reactor is created within seven years of the award.
Eskelsen said PacifiCorp has not operated a nuclear power plant before, but according to their website, PacifiCorp is operating 11,574 megawatts of "hydro, wind, natural gas, coal, solar and geothermal resources."