Energy Northwest applauds DOE selection of TerraPower-GE Hitachi for advanced nuclear energy award


Jason Herbert, Public Affairs, 703-622-2010

Carla Martinez, Public Affairs, 509-308-0457

RICHLAND, Wash. – Yesterday, TerraPower-GE Hitachi’s application was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the next generation of advanced nuclear reactors as part of the department’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, which provides federal cost-share to private industry to accelerate the availability of new advanced reactor technology. As a utility partner on the application, Energy Northwest is excited to collaborate on the development and deployment of their Natrium Power Production and Storage System. 

Under Energy Northwest’s partnership agreement with TerraPower-GE Hitachi, the agency will provide licensing and operating experience to the TerraPower-GE Hitachi team to facilitate development of the concept, including the potential for future operation and maintenance of a commercial plant. As the only experienced nuclear operator in the northwest, Energy Northwest is well-positioned to explore the viability of this innovative advanced nuclear energy project, including the benefits only advanced nuclear energy can provide.  

Recent state and regional carbon reduction policies underscore the importance of resource planning and investment in carbon-free generation, given that the region is expected to face significant capacity shortfalls over the next decade. Expert studies have shown a carbon-free electric grid is both possible and affordable in Washington when using an integrated energy system that includes renewables, storage, hydropower, and existing nuclear energy, as well as new advanced nuclear technologies. Building new carbon-free energy resources capable of integrating with expanding renewable resources will be invaluable to carbon-reduction efforts. The Natrium Power Production and Storage System has the potential to expand access to clean energy while maintaining reliability of the electric grid. As fellow northwest-based companies, TerraPower-GE Hitachi and PacifiCorp are ideal partners for Energy Northwest as the region plans for a future integrated energy system that is clean and reliable.  

Since the Washington State Legislature passed the Clean Energy Transformation Act in 2019, Energy Northwest has been evaluating all options to help achieve the state’s environmental goals. “Energy Northwest’s purpose for more than 60 years has been to keep Washington running with facilities, and by continuously exploring new technologies in power generation and storage,” said Brad Sawatzke, Energy Northwest CEO. “Continuous exploration of new power generation and storage technologies is an integral part of the organization’s mission, which allows us to evaluate and develop solutions to future energy challenges. Participating in the assessment of TerraPower-GE Hitachi’s technology will provide Energy Northwest with the opportunity to pursue advanced reactor designs as a potential asset to a future carbon-free electric grid.”

Additional information on the ARDP program and the Department of Energy’s technology selections is available here​.

About Energy Northwest   
Energy Northwest owns and operates a diverse mix of 100 percent clean electricity generating resources: hydro, solar and wind projects, and the third-largest provider of electricity in Washington – the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power facility. These projects provide carbon-free electricity at the cost of generation – enough clean, cost-effective and reliable energy to power more than a million homes each year. As an independent joint operating agency of Washington state, Energy Northwest comprises 27 public power member utilities from across the state serving more than 1.5 million customers. The agency continually explores new generation projects to meet its members’ needs. Visit our website for more information about us.