Officials announced Tuesday that the small city of Kemmerer, Wyoming would be the site of a new Bill Gates-backed nuclear power project.
The experimental Natrium nuclear power plant will be at the site of the coal-fired Naughton Power Plant, slated for retirement in 2025, though siting issues are not yet finalized. The company behind the project is TerraPower. Gates, who helped found TerraPower, is chairman of the board.
“Mr. Gates,” nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen wrote in an open letter in August, Natrium “is following in the footsteps of a 70-year-long record of sodium-cooled nuclear technological failures. Your plan to recycle those failures and resurrect liquid sodium again will siphon valuable public funds and research from inexpensive and proven renewable energy alternatives.”
The project in October received an $80 million U.S. Department of Energy grant.
“Our innovative technology,” Chris Levesque, president and CEO of TerraPower, said in a statement Tuesday, “will help ensure the continued production of reliable electricity while also transitioning our energy system and creating new, good-paying jobs in Wyoming.”
The company said that once the plant is operational, likely in seven years, it will employ approximately 250 people and is slated to produce 345 megawatts of power.
A feature of the future plant, TerraPower says, is “a molten salt-based energy storage system“—technology it claims represents “a significant advance over the light water reactor plants in use today.”
At a June press conference, Gates said Natrium was poised to “be a game-changer for the energy industry.” In a Tuesday tweet, Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming gave a similar message, saying “the Natrium reactor is the future of nuclear energy in America.”
While the company asserts the safety of Natrium’s sodium-cooled fast reactor, a report released in March by the Union of Concerned Scientists, entitled “Advanced” Isn’t Always Better, casts doubt on those claims.
UCS’s Elliott Negin highlighted the analysis in a June blog post, writing:
“In fact, according to the UCS report, sodium-cooled fast reactors would likely be less uranium-efficient and would not reduce the amount of waste that requires long-term isolation. They also could experience safety problems that are not an issue for light-water reactors. Sodium coolant, for example, can burn when exposed to air or water, and the Natrium’s design could experience uncontrollable power increases that result in rapid core melting.
“When it comes to safety and security, sodium-cooled fast reactors and molten salt–fueled reactors are significantly worse than conventional light-water reactors,” says [report author Edwin] Lyman. “High-temperature gas-cooled reactors may have the potential to be safer, but that remains unproven, and problems have come up during recent fuel safety tests.”
Fast reactors have another major drawback. “Historically,” the report points out, “fast reactors have required plutonium or [highly enriched uranium]-based fuels, both of which could be readily used in nuclear weapons and therefore entail unacceptable risks of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism.”
Some fast reactors, including the Natrium, will initially use a lower-enriched uranium fuel, called high-assay low-enriched uranium, which poses a lower proliferation risk than highly enriched uranium, but it is more attractive to terrorists seeking nuclear weapons than the much lower-enriched fuel that current light-water reactors use.
Reporting last week by DW also highlighted voices critical of the Natrium project.
They included Michael E. Mann, professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University, who told the outlet that “Gates has continually downplayed the role of proven, safe renewable energy technology in decarbonizing our economy, playing up instead more dangerous and risky technology like geoengineering and nuclear.”
“In the race to net-zero emissions, nuclear energy remains at the starting line. It’s misguided and dangerous,” Mann told DW, “because it leads us down the wrong path. The obstacles to meaningful climate action aren’t technological at this point. They’re political.”
According to nuclear expert Jan Haverkamp of Greenpeace, “fast breeder reactor” types “are proliferation nightmares.”
“They are delivered together with the reprocessing technology that also is necessary to isolate material for nuclear bombs,” Haverkamp told DW. “For that reason alone, I think the ideas of Gates in this respect are outright dangerous.”
Robert Howarth, a professor of ecology and environmental biology at Cornell University who was also quoted by DW, previously said that nuclear is “fraught with dangers” and represents the wrong path forward amid the climate emergency.
Sharon Squassoni, a research professor at George Washington University, echoed the argument that nuclear energy is a “distraction” in the face of the climate crisis.
“Despite its low-carbon virtues, nuclear energy is anything but quick,” Squassoni wrote in a blog post Monday at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. “In the race to net-zero emissions, nuclear energy remains at the starting line. Continuing to support nuclear energy at the expense of faster and cheaper alternatives for cutting greenhouse gas emissions is a losing strategy.”
Yes and all of these ‘Big Players’ just always forget that Earth is running in cycles. Eeverything is a cycle even our lives! [Common Dreams]
Now subscribe to this blog to get more amazing news curated just for you right in your inbox on a daily basis (here an example of our new newsletter).
You can also follow us on Facebook and/ or Twitter. And, by the way you can also make a donation through Paypal. Thank you!
You should really subscribe to QFiles. You will get very interesting information about strange events around the world.
Gates should be ground up to dust, mixed with fissionable Plutonium and become a rod of nuclear fuel. It would be the first time in his life he’s ever done anything useful.
https://articles.mercola.com/ strange sounds tell Steve Quayle
the greatest man in the USA, We love him also. Tell him Mercoula site is hacked ….? say take down the story or might censured. We tried to go saying strange massage? Thanks Strange Sounds indeed.
Flights are halted at Atlanta Airport during Thanksgiving getaway rush after ‘accidental gun discharge’ sparked panic in the terminal
Officials at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said an ‘accidental discharge’ caused panic
Video posted on social media shows hundreds of people fleeing and taking cover over fears of active shooter
But authorities clarified there was no active shooter and that there were no injuries early Saturday afternoon
FAA briefly halted all flight departures; planes resumed takeoffs after officials gave the all clear on Saturday
Concerns continue to mount over potential travel chaos over the week of the Thanksgiving holiday
Airline labor strife, severe weather, and the impact of a vaccine mandate for TSA agents could hamper travel
Right at your door movie with 3 different ending buy the CD please Amazon less than 10.00 make sure says 3 different endings? After eclipse of moon and full moon massive quakes weather abnormalities and hurricanes, floods, 20 inch snow many part of USA.
Global Martial law is in full gear.. Iran is Martial Law always,
Israel putting 4th shots to its citizens. Hitler killed 6 Million Jews but now Jews kill shots?
I will tell you what could go wrong.
Nuclear accident leads to radiation, which is airborne. All vaxxed sheeple will have compromised immune systems ripe for cancer cells to multiply.
Fallout leads to massive causalities. Another eugenics plan in the making.