By Jonathan Gallardo
Gillette News Record
Via- Wyoming News Exchange
GILLETTE — The city of Gillette and a company looking to build nuclear micro reactors in Wyoming will work together to look at the possibility of having nuclear facilities and operations in Gillette while using this technology to provide energy for residents and businesses.
At a regular meeting this week, the Gillette City Council approved a cooperation agreement with BWX Technologies, or BWXT, that outlines the scope of work the two parties will engage in for the next three years.
They’ll look at whether local businesses are able to be part of the supply chain for these micro reactors, but they’ll also look into whether BWXT’s reactors can be deployed in the city and one day perhaps provide the city with electricity.
BWXT is a Virginia-based company that is looking to build up a supply chain in Wyoming for nuclear micro reactors. It has a two-phase contract with the Wyoming Energy Authority to evaluate the viability of deploying small-scale nuclear reactors, with the goal of working as a private supplier for nuclear micro reactors in the state. Gillette’s L&H Industrial is supporting BWXT in this endeavor.
“They could still go anywhere in the state, but that’s what is so great about it, is they were open to having those conversations with us about doing an assembly plant or whatever that may look like here,” said Mayor Shay Lundvall.
The city will work with BWXT to identify the city’s energy needs, facilitate relationships with local energy partners and take part in workshops to explore BWXT’s research and development of nuclear technologies in Gillette and Campbell County.
Lundvall said this agreement memorializes the conversations the city and BWXT have had in the past, and “if and when the time comes, in the next year or so, that Gillette is positioned to have the first look at site development.”
The agreement also reads that the city is interested in evaluating nuclear energy as a source of heat and electricity for residents and businesses, and that BWXT believes the development and future deployment of its Advanced Nuclear Reactor as a “potential long-term solution to the city’s needs.”
“Nothing’s ever a guarantee, but it gives us a seat at the table,” Lundvall said.
He added that the city should be taking a proactive approach in economic development to prepare the community for the years ahead.
“That’s part of being the mayor, is being the ambassador and selling Gillette,” he said. “You’re not going to win everything, but give me a fighting chance and I’ll absolutely win some of them.”