Tata Partnership Aims to Bring Industrial Commercial Nuclear Reactors to Wyoming

Tata Partnership Aims to Bring Industrial Commercial Nuclear Reactors to Wyoming

SWEETWATER COUNTY – An agreement signed between Tata Chemicals Soda Ash Partners LLC and BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC aims to assess the viability of using small-scale commercial nuclear reactors to support the trona industry in Wyoming.

Tata Chemicals announced the agreement Thursday.

“This was a work-in-progress for some time now,” Jon Conrad, the director of governmental affairs for TCSAP said.

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The two companies will work together to identify Tata’s energy needs and utilize BWXT’s BWXT Advanced Nuclear Reactor. The reactor is known as a microreactor and would produce 50 megawatts of thermal nuclear power. According to BWXT, the microreactor provides flexible options for energy, which include electricity, steam for process heat, or both in a process the company refers to as cogeneration.

The agreement will see the use of a microreactor to help meet Tata’s energy needs, as well as create a business plan for the development and long-term operation of the microreactor.

According to the release, the project is supported by the Wyoming Energy Authority.

“One of our main goals in developing a nuclear energy industry in Wyoming is to be able to support our own in-state end users and industries,” Rob Creager, executive director for the Wyoming Energy Authority said in a press release. “With the demand for power only expected to increase, we need to support Wyoming’s industries to remain competitive in a global market. In some situations, more is more and nuclear power has tremendous potential to add value to Wyoming’s energy portfolio.”

Conrad said the project is a major piece in the company’s goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 30% by 2030. Also, Conrad said the project isn’t aimed at selling additional power to nearby mines and facilities.

“That’s not in our equation,” he said.

Nuclear energy projects are finding homes in Wyoming. The largest, the Natrium Reactor Demonstration Project, will be located near Kemmerer. That reactor is expected to produce 345 megawatts of electricity, with the ability to boost production to 500 megawatts to serve peak power demands. That project is being initiated by Rocky Mountain Power and TerraPower.