Puget Sound Energy is investing $10 million into Energy Northwest’s efforts to examine the feasibility of developing and deploying a next-generation nuclear energy facility. The partnership agreement was announced this week.
The financial commitment from Puget Sound Energy adds to the approximately $10 million contributed by Energy Northwest and supporting partners, including nearly $1 million in combined investment from 17 northwest public utilities.
Energy Northwest has been exploring the possible addition of advanced nuclear reactors in Washington state for several years.
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In July 2023 the utility and small modular reactor developer X-Energy signed an agreement to bring multiple Xe-100 SMRs to central Washington state. Energy Northwest said it expects to bring the first Xe-100 module online by 2030.
The project includes the potential deployment of “up to 12 Xe-100 advanced small modular reactors” capable of generating up to a 960 MW of electricity.
The Xe-100 project is expected to be developed at a site controlled by Energy Northwest adjacent to Columbia Generating Station in Richland. Energy Northwest owns Columbia Generation Station, which is the only commercial nuclear energy facility in the region. The agency also owns and operates hydroelectric, solar, battery storage and wind assets.
X-energy’s Xe-100 SMR is a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor. The Maryland-based company said its SMR can address a broad range of uses, including applications that currently rely on fossil fuels to produce steam and heat for processes like manufacturing, petroleum refining and hydrogen production.
Each Xe-100 module can provide 80 MW of electricity or 200 MW of high-temperature steam, according to X-energy.
Energy Northwest and X-energy have discussed plans for an Xe-100 facility in central Washington since 2020. At one point X-energy’s goal was to have an operational unit by 2028, starting with a 320 MW four-unit Xe-100 power plant in the state.
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