Bill Gates' nuclear power company TerraPower is considering Glenrock, Wyoming as the site of its next-generation nuclear reactor.
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  • Bill Gates is considering Glenrock, Wyoming, for his next-generation nuclear power plant.
  • The plant could replace 200 jobs that are at risk as a local coal plant closes, the mayor said.
  • Gates' company TerraPower is running the project with Warren Buffett-owned PacifiCorp.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

A small town in Wyoming in the US is hoping that Bill Gates will pick it for his upcoming $1 billion (R14.5 billion) next-generation nuclear power plant, which could save hundreds of local jobs.

TerraPower, Gates' nuclear-power company, is considering Glenrock, Wyoming, for its first advanced Natrium reactor, reports the Associated Press (AP). Gates has said the reactor would be safer and cost less than a traditional nuclear reactor.

A coal-fired power plant in Glenrock is due to shut in 2027, according to plans published by energy company PacifiCorp, the plant's owner. The plant, called the Dave Johnston Power Plant, employs nearly 200 people from Glenrock and two nearby towns, Wyoming News reported.

Glenrock Mayor Bruce Roumell told Fox Business that the site could more than make up for lost coal jobs.

"We've been told it'll be close to 250 people," Roumell told Fox Business when asked how many jobs could be created. "They've also said there would be around 1,500 people in the construction phase. That's a pretty good influx into this area for us."

TerraPower is running the Natrium project with PacifiCorp - owned by billionaire Warren Buffett - and plans to open the plant by 2028. The Natrium reactor could be a carbon-free energy source for about 400,000 homes during peak demand, TerraPower said in a press release.

Gates said in a June press briefing that the Natirum reactor, which uses liquid sodium as its coolant instead of water, would be safer and cost less than a traditional nuclear reactor. In October 2020, the US Department of Energy awarded the project $80 million (over R1 billion) in initial funding, per a TerraPower press release.

In June, TerraPower said in a press release that it would select a town in Wyoming for its first reactor project, and that it would announce the site by the end of the year. Gillette, Kemmerer, and Rock Springs are the three other towns under consideration, reports the AP.

TerraPower previously said the project would cost about $1 billion (R1.5 billion), Reuters reported.

Fox Business said that nearly all of Glenrock's residents it spoke to were excited at the idea of TerraPower moving into town.

"We've got to do something," resident Deb Schell told Fox Business. "I think it's the wave of the future. Coal is on its way out so we have to do something."

TerraPower and PacifiCorp did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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