Wyoming Starts Nuclear Energy Partnership With Idaho Laboratory
Governor Mark Gordon announced in a press release that Wyoming has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Batelle Energy Alliance (BEA), the operating contractor of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) to collaborate on advanced energy technologies.
According to the release, the partnership will primarily focus on advanced nuclear technology, hydrogen production, transportation and consumption in industrial applications, and other advanced energy systems.
The MOU also encourages cooperation to ensure training and education for workers in the uranium and nuclear industries.
"While the Natrium project is a great start, it is my intent that we are also able to establish a nuclear industry and a sophisticated and advanced manufacturing capacity using Wyoming uranium, Wyoming technology, and Wyoming workers," Gordon said. "This MOU will assist in this effort."
In November, Kemmemer Wyoming was selected as the future site for an experimental Natrium nuclear reactor, costing around $2 billion and producing almost three million megawatt-hours of electricity annually.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Wyoming produced about 35 million megawatt-hours of electricity from coal in 2019.
The Natrium reactor may be operational within the next seven years, with construction hoping to begin in 2024, and would be the first time Wyoming generates electricity from nuclear power.
The MOU will be in place for five years or until either party decides to back out, with a minimum of bi-weekly discussions and yearly updates.
Also listed in the MOU are other areas of cooperation, which include partnerships between the INL and the University of Wyoming, K-12 teacher training, loaned staff, economic analysis, and federal agency liasons.
Dr. Glen Murrell, Executive Director of the Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA), said:
"This MOU formalizes and structures a relationship that has been developing over several years," Murrell said. "The INL's expertise and impartiality will play a critical role in the ongoing execution of Wyoming's all-of-the-above energy strategy."
While an "all-of-the-above energy strategy" is something championed by the WEA, this MOU seems to focus mostly on nuclear energy, as it makes no mention of wind or solar energy.