Advanced nuclear reactor planned north of Richland; first in the country

RICHLAND, Wash. – A new partnership was formed today to pave a historic path for nuclear, carbon-free energy in Washington.

Energy Northwest, Grant County PUD and X-energy announced their TRi Energy Partnership on Thursday morning to see through the development and commercial demonstration of the United States’ first advanced nuclear reactor.

“It’s a tremendous day, it’s an opportunity to carry on a legacy frankly of the Tri-Cities,” CEO of Energy Northwest Brad Sawatzke said.

“This is really a landmark day, it’s historic and I hope people understand the significance,” Congressman Dan Newhouse added.

Congressman Dan Newhouse also attended the signing and called the agreement a ‘game-changer’ for Washington.

“We have the history, the community is very supportive, we have the people resource,” Newhouse added.

The power plant will be built on an existing Energy Northwest site, north of Richland, with X-energy’s Xe-100 reactors. The site would have the potential to generate up to 320 megawatts of carbon-free energy.

X-energy’s Xe-100 reactor utilizes TRISO or “TRi-structural Isotropic particle fuel,” which, according to the company provides unmatched safety and performance. TRISO has been named as the safest form of Uranium fuel that is strong and durable.

This means clean energy for hundreds of thousands of homes throughout Washington.

“It’s all about what are we doing for our children, our grandchildren, what are we doing to try and manage the challenges that are with the environment, climate,” Sawatzke said.

The three chief executives from each company signed a mutual agreement in hopes that when the site is built, others throughout the US will follow in their footsteps.

Leaders have been working on this project for quite some time, and just last year, the Department of Energy awarded funds to X-energy in order to build this next generation of energy.

“Advanced nuclear is the answer it is the ability to integrate with renewables but we need that baseload generation there to make sure our transmission stays solid,” Sawatzke explained.

The project is expected to take seven years to complete and online by 2027-2028, as set by the DOE and Congress. This would set Washington up to prepare for 2045 when the state will implement the Clean Energy Transformation Act, which requires 100 percent carbon-free electricity.

Officials say the Tri-Cities region is an ideal location for this plant to be built because of strong community support, a history of nuclear innovation and a skilled workforce that could help construct the reactors.

READ MORE: Energy Northwest explains the potential for nuclear power in Tri-Cities

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