By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
It’s not like the two politicos from opposite sides of the aisle walked out of a conference room holding hands and singing “Love Will Keep Us Together,” but America did bear witness to a rare bipartisan agreement on Tuesday.
Energy Secretary Janet Granholm, a Democrat and former governor of Michigan, agreed with U.S. Senator John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, on the necessity for a domestic supply of uranium to supply a proposed nuclear power plant in the Cowboy State.
In order to power the “Natrium” reactor plant, Barrasso said high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) would be necessary, which can be supplied only by the Department of Energy or Russia.
He asked Secretary Granholm what steps the department is taking so that the U.S. doesn’t have to rely on Russia for the energy.
“We agree that we need to develop that supply of HALEU and the budget requests $33 million in that regard to start that process and make sure that we will have on an ongoing basis access to that critical mineral,” Granholm said.
Pleased with her response, Barrasso noted there were individuals in the Energy Department who didn’t share those feelings so it was “good to hear that you’re on board on this,” he said.
“For sure,” Granholm said. “It goes right into again, this notion of us being able to make sure that we have the means for our own for our own supply chains for our own energy.”
The plant proposed for Wyoming will generate 345 megawatts and will also be able to store enough energy to generate 500 megawatts of power for more than five hours.
The plant will be built at one of Rocky Mountain Power’s existing coal power plants near Rock Springs, Glenrock, Kemmerer or Gillette. The location should be decided by the end of the year.