Barrasso Responds to TerraPower Announcement

December 13, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), released the following statement in response to TerraPower’s announcement that it plans to delay its Natrium reactor project in Wyoming due to lack of American nuclear fuel.

TerraPower’s announcement underscores what I’ve been saying for years: America must reestablish itself as the global leader in nuclear energy. Instead of relying on our adversaries like Russia for uranium, the United States must produce its own supply of advanced nuclear fuel,” said Barrasso.  

I’ve introduced legislation to make this a reality and I’ve repeatedly called on the Department of Energy (DOE) to accelerate and expand its efforts. It’s time for DOE to stop slow-walking this process and start listening to Congress. The Biden administration must consider and implement every available option to make sure TerraPower’s Natrium reactor is fueled with American-made fuel.” 

In response to TerraPower’s announcement, Ranking Member Barrasso sent a letter to ENR Chairman Joe Manchin requesting an oversight hearing early next year to ensure that DOE is working aggressively to make high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) available for our nation’s first class of advanced reactors.

Barrasso also sent a letter today to Secretary of Energy Granholm blasting DOE for not moving fast enough to ensure a domestic supply of HALEU.

Background Information: 

On December 8, 2022, Ranking Member Barrasso led a bipartisan group of 14 senators on a letter to Senate appropriators seeking funding for DOE’s HALEU initiatives.   

In April 2022, Ranking Member Barrasso introduced the Fueling Our Nuclear Future Act of 2022. The bill will ensure a domestic supply of HALEU for advanced nuclear reactors. It will direct DOE to prioritize establishing a domestic HALEU enrichment capability. It will also direct DOE to make HALEU available from their inventories to ensure advanced reactors have the fuel they need until U.S. commercial enrichment is available.