Nation’s first advanced nuclear reactor is coming to Tri-Cities

By on Friday, April 2nd, 2021 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

RICHLAND, Washington – Energy Northwest, the Grant Public Utility District, and X-energy LLC of Maryland have formed a partnership to support the development and commercial demonstration of the country’s first advanced nuclear reactor. The announcement was made Thursday in Richland.

The partners will collaborate and share resources for the mutual goal of siting, building, and operating an Xe-100 advanced nuclear power plant at an existing Energy Northwest site north of Richland. It will have the potential of generating up to 320 megawatts of energy. Through the TRi Energy Partnership, the parties will evaluate each step of the project and identify the best approach for licensing, permitting, constructing, operating, and owning.

Advanced reactors are intended to operate with enhanced safety features and create a smaller footprint.

“As Washington state implements the Clean Energy transformation Act, requiring 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045, new sources of reliable, affordable, and emissions-free electricity will be needed across the region,” Energy Northwest Chief Executive Officer Brad Sawatzke said. “Advanced nuclear energy can and should play a vital role in our states clean energy future.” The site for the reactor is on land Energy Northwest leases at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. A reactor could be operating in about seven years, and the project could include up to four reactors producing 320 megawatts of energy.

Photo: U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse observes as Energy Northwest CEO Brad Sawatzke, X-energy CEO Clay Sell, and Grant PUD CEO Kevin Nordt sign the TRi Energy Partnership at the Port of Benton in Richland.