It is the best option for deploying advanced nuclear power given increasing demand for carbon-free energy and a growing mix of renewable sources because it:
The Natrium™ technology is one of the fastest and lowest-cost paths to advanced clean energy that can change the world.
- Simplifies construction and architecture compared to previous reactor types
- Offers a cost-competitive, flexible technology that supports load following, energy storage and industrial process heat applications
- Brings step-change improvements in capital and operational costs
- Provides a utility-scale decarbonization solution that can make a meaningful impact on efforts to mitigate climate change
In June 2021, TerraPower, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon and PacifiCorp announced efforts to advance a Natrium reactor demonstration project at a retiring coal plant in Wyoming. Read the announcement.
In October 2020, TerraPower was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to demonstrate the Natrium™ reactor and energy system with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. Read the announcement.
Improvements in Performance and Cost
With a sodium fast reactor, integrated energy storage and flexible power production, the Natrium technology offers carbon-free energy at a competitive cost and is ready to integrate seamlessly into electric grids with high levels of renewables.
- 345 MWe reactor
- Gigawatt-hour-scale energy storage (capacity of 500 MWe output for 5.5+ hours)
- Four times more fuel efficient than light water reactors
- 80% less nuclear-grade concrete per MWe
The expert teams at TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy combine their decades of research, unparalleled design experience and unmatched technical capabilities to bring the innovative Natrium technology to market. It will be available in the late 2020s, making it one of the first commercial advanced nuclear technologies.
Watch the ClearPath webinar, Natrium: Latin for Sodium, Big for Advanced Nuclear, during which experts from TerraPower and several partners discussed the technology.
The Natrium technology has been designed to reduce cost and construction schedule. The key innovation relative to past reactors is the novel architecture, which separates and simplifies major structures.
The Energy Island, which represents most of the plant, can be constructed and operated without the need for special nuclear requirements or nuclear regulatory approval.
In addition, the compact atmospheric pool reactor system with passive vessel cooling significantly reduces the amount of space and nuclear-grade concrete required. In fact, on a per MWe basis, it uses 80% less nuclear-grade concrete compared to today’s large reactors.
Generation IV non-light water reactors offer many advantages including potential better economics, improved fuel utilization, higher operating temperatures for industrial process heat applications and integrated energy storage systems, and the ability to close the fuel cycle. Sodium-cooled fast reactors have the highest technology readiness levels of any advanced non-light water reactor that enables the technology to be commercialized fast enough to have an impact on decarbonization.
The Natrium technology features a 345MWe reactor combined with a gigawatt-scale thermal energy storage system that can be optimized for specific markets. The molten salt-based storage technology is adopted from and has been widely demonstrated around the world in the concentrated solar power industry. The Natrium technology’s reactor creates heat that can be used to generate electricity immediately or be contained in thermal storage reserves. That heat can be turned into electricity upon demand from the grid when need peaks or renewables are unavailable. For example, the state-of-the-art energy storage can boost the system’s output to 500MWe of power for more than five and a half hours when needed.
The innovative combination of an advanced sodium fast reactor with energy storage allows the reactor to operate at a high capacity factor while simultaneously capturing more daily electricity revenue and supporting the increased use of renewables. The Natrium technology can also provide the heat needed for industrial processes that currently rely on fossil fuels – such as desalinating water, providing district heating or producing hydrogen, petrochemicals or steel – without generating carbon emissions.
With significant private investment behind it, the Natrium technology has unmatched financial credibility and an achievable funding strategy. As a result, the Natrium technology will be available in the late 2020s. With leaders and policymakers setting ambitious carbon-free energy targets, the Natrium technology is ready to help the world achieve a clean energy future.
The Innovative Team
Behind the Natrium Technology
Commercializing advanced nuclear technology is critical to solving the dual challenges of climate change and global energy poverty. The world needs more energy, not less, and it must be clean.
The Natrium team brings extraordinary people, unprecedented resources and the right technology to the table to meet this clean energy challenge. The people at TerraPower and GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy have the right combination of innovation and commercial expertise to bring the Natrium technology to market. The team has reinvented what nuclear power can be: competitive and flexible.
Learn more about the companies behind the innovative Natrium technology.
Learn more about the Natrium technology and how it will generate clean energy to power a carbon-free future.
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