Wyoming picks BWXT microreactor project for funding

August 23, 2023, 12:02PMNuclear News

The Wyoming Energy Authority (WEA) recently recommended nearly $10 million—$9,999,802 to be exact—in funding from its Energy Matching Funds (EMF) program for a proposed project to deploy a BWXT Advanced Technologies microreactor in the state. (BWXT AT is a subsidiary of BWX Technologies Inc.)

In 2022, the Wyoming legislature appropriated $100 million to the office of the governor to provide matching funds for private or federal funding of research, pilot projects, or commercial deployment projects related to Wyoming energy needs.

According to an August 8 WEA news release, Gov. Mark Gordon delegated management of the EMF to the WEA in an effort to leverage Wyoming-based projects that are applying for federal funding. Wyoming lawmakers made an additional $50 million available in 2023, including provisions and notice requirements.

In late 2020, the U.S. Department of Energy selected the BWXT Advanced Nuclear Reactor (BANR) for a cost-shared partnership under its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. The award value totaled $106.6 million, with the department contributing $85.3 million.

Specifics: A total of $20,589,751 will be required to execute the Wyoming project, the release stated, adding that BWXT AT will leverage its existing cost-shared partnership with the DOE. Under the project, the company will identify areas where Wyoming’s existing supply chain can demonstrate capabilities for reactor component manufacturing and support reactor deployment. Separately, the company will perform engineering work to investigate how its microreactor design could integrate into Wyoming’s future power needs. The ultimate goal is to bolster the Wyoming extraction industries through carbon-free production of electricity and high-temperature process heat. According to the WEA, if built, a lead microreactor would serve as a demonstration plant for a potential fleet of microreactors that could be deployed across the state and region.

Official words: “BWXT is very excited to get started on this project and work with the WEA and other Wyoming organizations who share our belief in the benefits of nuclear power,” said Joe Miller, BWXT AT president. “At the end of this project, the potential job creation, manufacturing, and industrial opportunities for nuclear power in Wyoming will be clearer, and we will have a roadmap for deploying microreactors in Wyoming. When state and federal agencies work together with the private sector, we can unlock the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear innovations.”

Said Rob Creager, WEA executive director, “Wyoming is all about offering pragmatic energy solutions for the 21st century. The Energy Matching Funds are a prime example of how state, federal, and private sectors can work together to achieve success and move the needle forward. Projects like . . . the BWXT microreactor project hold potential for our energy security and Wyoming’s economic advancement.”

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