This month Energy Northwest, Grant County Public Utility District and X-energy, LLC signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a mutual partnership to support the development and commercial demonstration of the country’s first advanced nuclear reactor.
The partners will collaborate and share resources to evaluate their mutual goal of siting, building, and operating an Xe-100 advanced nuclear power plant at an existing Energy Northwest site north of Richland, with the potential to generate up to 320 megawatts of reliable, carbon-free energy. Through the TRi Energy Partnership, the parties will evaluate each step of the project and identify the best approach to licensing, permitting, construction, operation, and ownership.
The partnership was announced at a signing ceremony in Richland, Washington, where the three chief executives delivered remarks:
“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,” said Brad Sawatzke, Energy Northwest chief executive officer. “Advanced nuclear energy can and should play a vital role in our state’s clean energy future: it does not emit greenhouse gases, is available around-the-clock, pairs well with renewables, and provides numerous benefits essential to grid reliability.”
“This partnership signifies our strong interest in advanced nuclear energy as one of the best, lowest-cost options to reliably serve Grant County’s growing communities and support their continued economic growth,” said Kevin Nordt, Grant County PUD chief executive officer. “The electricity generated by an Xe-100, and other advanced nuclear energy technologies, will be invaluable to our future carbon-free grid.”
“Together we represent the three pillars on which a successful project will be built: X-energy’s innovative Generation IV nuclear technology and fuel design; Energy Northwest’s ideal site and proven operating experience and nuclear expertise; and in Grant PUD a forward-thinking, resourceful, and extremely well-run utility with an interest in new resources to meet growing demand,” said Clay Sell, X-energy chief executive officer. “Combined with the Department of Energy’s vital support and visionary leadership, we have the foundation on which to build the future of clean energy.
U.S. Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse (Tri-Cities) said, “When the Department of Energy announced the awardees of the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program last year, I called it a ‘game-changer’ for the Tri-Cities.
“Our local leaders stand upon the hard work, the history, and the innovative leadership developed over decades to announce the next step in that game-changing announcement,” said Newhouse. “The TRi Energy Partnership is not only going to help shape the future of clean energy innovation for the Tri-Cities and Central Washington, but for the entire nation.”
He continued, “By laying this important groundwork, X-energy, Energy Northwest, and Grant PUD are exemplifying why this proposed project is deserving of the federal government’s confidence and continued support. Because of this collaboration, I am confident the TRi Energy Partnership is going to be a model for other leaders across the country to secure our nation’s clean energy future.”
Under the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, DOE received $230 million to start a new demonstration program for advanced reactors. ARDP elements include Advanced Reactor Demonstration, Risk Reduction for Future Demonstrations, Regulatory Development, and Advanced Reactor Safeguards.
X-energy is a Maryland-based nuclear energy company.