The project is being sponsored by Mr Gate’s Terrapower and power company Pacificorp, owned by Mr Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The billionaires said that the exact site for the demonstration reactor would be confirmed by the end of the year. Natrium reactors represent one of the latest advances in nuclear technologies and are seen as a critical component in helping to reduce greenhouse gases.
They are expected to be cleaner, safer and more-efficient than previous generations.
Mr Gates told journalists at a media conference in Cheyenne, Wyoming: “We think Natrium will be a game-changer for the energy industry.
“Wyoming has been a leader in energy for over a century and we hope our investment in Natrium will help Wyoming to stay in the lead for many decades to come.”
The 345-megawatt plant is expected to produce enough power for around 250,000 homes.
It would also produce hydrogen, which can power trucks and other vehicles with fuel cells.
The western state of Wyoming is a top producer of green house gases from its coal, oil and natural gas industries.
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“Nuclear power is clearly a part of my all-of-the-above strategy for energy.”
A Natrium reactor uses liquid metal (sodium) as a coolant instead of water typically used in US commercial power plants.
This allows for the coolant to operate at higher temperatures and lower pressures than current reactors—improving the efficiency and safety of the system.