Advanced nuclear company TerraPower chose four suppliers to support its Natrium Reactor Demonstration Project, which is being developed in Kemmerer, Wyoming, near a retiring coal plant.
Bill Gates-backed Terrapower said the companies will make up key elements of the supply chain for the next-generation, small nuclear plant.
Western Service Corporation will provide the software platform and engineering services for the Natrium Engineering Simulator. TerraPower is developing a simulator that can replicate normal operation and plant protective functions, which the company said offers opportunities to integrate system functions and perform virtual commissioning in early stages.
James Fisher Technologies is designing and building an injection casting furnace system that will be implemented in TerraPower’s Everett laboratory and will demonstrate the basic functionality of the injection casting process.
BWXT Canada will design the Intermediate Heat Exchanger for the Natrium Reactor Demonstration Project. The Intermediate Heat Exchanger transfers heat from the primary sodium in the primary heat transport system to the intermediate sodium in the intermediate heat transport system.
Curtiss-Wright will develop the Reactor Protection System for the project. The RPS performs important safety functions in accordance with regulatory requirements. This specific contract includes the provision of a prototype system and planning and engineering support prior to the detailed design, manufacture, testing and delivery of the RPS.
The Natrium technology features a 345 MWe sodium-cooled fast reactor with a molten salt-based energy storage system. The storage technology can boost the system’s output to 500 MWe for more than five and a half hours when needed. TerraPower said this addition allows a Natrium plant to integrate well with renewable resources.
In December 2022 TerraPower said it expected operation of the Natrium reactor to be delayed by at least two years due to not enough commercial capacity to manufacture high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) fuel in time to meet the proposed 2028 in-service date.
The company since agreed with Centrus Energy on a collaboration aimed at establishing commercial-scale, domestic HALEU production capabilities. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) had approved Centrus’ request to make HALEU fuel at its Piketon, Ohio facility. The plant is now the only licensed HALEU production facility in the United States.
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