Bechtel has broken ground on the Natrium advanced reactor demonstration project in Kemmerer, in the US state of Wyoming.

The Natrium reactor is a fusion of TerraPower and GE Hitachi technology, representing a significant advancement in the generation of clean, sustainable power. It utilises sodium-based cooling technology rather than traditional water cooling.

The new tech is expected to deliver a flexible power output from a baseline of 345MW to a peak of 500MW, sufficient to supply electricity to 400,000 homes.

Bechtel and TerraPower will collaborate as the engineering, procurement and construction partners on the project, which is part of the US Department of Energy’s advanced reactor demonstration programme.

As well as delivering carbon-free and reliable power to the electrical grid, the project will provide long-term employment opportunities in Wyoming.

Bechtel president and COO Craig Albert stated: “The Natrium reactor’s innovative design will launch a new approach to nuclear plant construction that is designed to be safer, cleaner, faster and more efficient than many energy source alternatives.

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“Working together, the combination of advanced technology and streamlined constructability has the potential to diversify the US power generation industry. The option of deploying smaller advanced nuclear plants that can work in concert with other clean energy sources will help speed our progress toward net zero emissions.

“Natrium will be the first nuclear project where the execution of those plans will benefit from Bechtel’s suite of digital tools and systems which have been proven to deliver exceptional results on other large energy facilities.”

In September 2023, Westinghouse Electric and Bechtel entered a partnership to design and build a nuclear power facility in Poland.

Their consortium will develop the country’s first nuclear plant at Lubiatowo-Kopalino in Pomerania.