Wyoming, INL sign MoU on advanced nuclear development and deployment

09 May 2022

The State of Wyoming has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Batelle Energy Alliance, the operating contractor of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), to collaborate in the research, development, demonstration and deployment of advanced energy technologies with a special focus on advanced nuclear.

The MoU was signed by Wyoming Energy Authority Director Glen Murrell (left) and INL Laboratory Director John Wagner (Image: INL)

The MoU's objective is to leverage the strategies, capabilities, insights, partnerships and activities of INL and Wyoming stakeholders for the benefit of Wyoming and the USA, placing Wyoming at the forefront of advanced energy technology, applications and workforce leadership.

"Simply stated, we seek to collaboratively develop a path to global leadership in a carbon-constrained economy," it says.

"Wyoming is blessed with a rich endowment of natural resources that have been at the heart of its economy for decades," the MoU states, describing this energy economy as an economic bedrock for Wyoming that has also played a substantial role in US energy and economic security for most of the past century. "As markets and society demands change, it is increasingly important that Wyoming's energy economy evolves and transforms the way that it delivers energy, and produces products built on energy, to its consumers."

Specific areas of interest highlighted by the MoU include, amongst other things, advanced nuclear technology; the nuclear fuel cycle from cradle to grave; hydrogen production, transportation, consumption and industrial applications; and other advanced energy systems, through a regional to global approach. The MoU also encourages cooperation to ensure training and education for workers in the uranium and nuclear industries.

TerraPower in November 2021 announced the selection of Kemmerer in Wyoming as the preferred site for its Natrium advanced reactor demonstration project. The MoU, which will be in place for five years, demonstrates Wyoming's continued commitment to providing solutions to a shifting global marketplace that is increasingly moving toward decarbonized products, according to Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.

"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," he said. "This MoU will assist in this effort."

The agreement "formalises and structures" the relationship between INL and Wyoming, Glen Murrell, Executive Director of the Wyoming Energy Authority, said. " INL's expertise and impartiality will play a critical role in the ongoing execution of Wyoming's all-of-the-above energy strategy," he added.

INL is the US Department of Energy's national laboratory for nuclear energy research and development. Battelle Energy Alliance recently issued a request for information on options to reduce its energy-related emissions including the design, construction and operation of an on-site nuclear reactor to will help the lab achieve zero-carbon emissions by 2031.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News