◆ Tera Power meetings with local leaders.
Local government officials from Kemmerer and Lincoln County, along with state representatives, were given an update by TerraPower on the early stages of testing at the Rocky Mountain Power Plant during a meeting Jan. 19.
They were advised that test holes have been drilled for the Natrium nuclear facilities.
“These are the first of several test holes that are drilled checking the soil at the power plant site in Kemmerer,” Lincoln County Commissioner Jerry Hansen explained in an interview this week on the Weekday Wake Up program this week.
Acknowledging that “Lincoln County can still be a clean energy hub for a variety of things,” he said the commission have started receiving updates on the projects in the county.
“Let’s go right to the Natrium reactor,” he said. “We’ve met with TerraPower representatives and the project manager as late as last week. They are doing a nice job of keeping the community informed about what is going on with Terra Power.”
The commissioner said this is the start of an extensive testing and construction project. “It’s a seven year window and they are approaching one year into it,” he said. “They have had about 300 engineers working on it.”
Hansen reported, “There are handful of drilling rigs on the site, maybe up to 10 or 12, and they hope to be done with [test] drilling by July.”
A test site will follow. “They are looking for a ground breaking in August or September,” he said in reference to the sodium filled test facility.
He added, “This is the test facility prior to anything going on the ground for the Natrium reactor.”
Hansen emphasized that everything is in the testing phase “to make sure they are putting it in the exact spot it needs to be.”
Test holes reach 500 meters in depth. While the depth of the reactor site will include a 110 ft .deep by 40 ft. wide hole.
In addition, to drill testing, early discussions have started with the Wyoming Department of Transportation that call for widening the highway and adding turn lanes in appropriate places to accommodate increased traffic around the plant.
“WYDOT wants the traffic to flow,” Hansen said. “They want it be safe out there. They are working on every aspect.”
The commissioner said the increased traffic and activity will not just include the Kemmerer/Diamondville area, but the workforce is expected to also come from the Unita and Sweetwater county areas.
Hansen said he hopes Kemmerer/Diamondville will remain a quality place to live the coming years. “When we’re done, what I hope for Kemmerer and Diamondville as we get 10 years down the road; it is still the area we want it to be.”
He said the county is calling for a planned approach to the all changes. “We will encourage a thoughtful plan, such a housing,” he concluded. “The county wants to lend itself to that type of approach, so it is systematic and methodical, and still be a great place to live.”