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Kemmerer region prepares for a year of growth in 2022

◆ Mayor says growth will be regional in three states.

Kemmerer Mayor Bill Thek is watching the work load increase for himself, the city council and city staff following the announcement of the Natrium nuclear power plant for the community. “There’s so much planning to do here right now,” he said.

Housing developments are already in the works for the community that just months earlier was facing a different scenario in a declining mineral based economy.

“We have one new housing development that has gone to zoning. We’re trying to get that through,” explained Mayor Thek. “We have another one that is interested. He has buyers available. We need to go for zoning on that.”

This won’t be the first time, Kemmerer has moved forward with major projects.

“When it comes to big projects like this we have done this for decades now, with the Fontenelle Dam and the building of the current coal fired power plant,” recalled the mayor.

This time the main focus will center around the Natrium facility as it goes through the testing and permitting process for a project first brought forward in November.

KEMMERER ANNOUNCED AS SITE FOR TERRAPOWER NUCLEAR PLANT

“TerraPower recently announced plans to build its Natrium reactor at a retiring coal plant in Kemmerer, Wyoming,” the US. Department of Energy reported at the end of the year. “This is an incredible opportunity for the state, which currently generates almost 90-percent of its electricity generation from fossil fuels. The Natrium design represents the future of advanced nuclear reactor technology and is well-suited to provide clean and efficient power to communities across the United States, including the Mountain West.”

The November report continued, “The U.S. Department of Energy is extremely excited about this project and plans to invest nearly $2 billion to support the licensing, construction and demonstration of this first-of-a-kind reactor by 2028.”

The department further advised, “The Natrium project will create thousands of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent jobs once the plant is on-line. It will not only leverage the existing energy infrastructure already in place at the coal plant but also the local power plant workforce who can work with utilities to transition or apply their skills to higher paying jobs in nuclear energy. “

EXPERTS WEIGH IN ON PLANNED NUCLEAR FACILITY

In addition to the nuclear facility in Kemmerer, Mayor Thek acknowledged plans for a solar project that will be constructed between Kemmerer and Cokeville, that will require addition construction workers.
In nearby La Barge there are also plans calling for more construction. “We have Exxon starting a multi-million dollar project by La Barge that will impact Kemmerer,” the mayor advised.

Mayor Thek suggested that all of the projects combined will have an impact in that region.

“We have so many things going that will keep our community growing through 2028 and it is real exciting,” the mayor said. “You are always thinking about growth, and the last few years we have been hit with our power plant shutting down and everyone is panicking about that and then all of sudden these things come about.”

He continued, “This will absolutely propel our communities into the future — and that is all of our surrounding communities.”

Mayor Thek said the work will help the region. “The small community of Kemmerer is never able to house all those people,” he said. “La Barge houses people and we have people living in Rock Springs, Green River, Lyman, Mtn. View and Evanston. Also, [workers live] over into Utah — Randolph, Lake Town, Garden City and Montpelier, Idaho. “

Mayor Thek concluded, “When you talk about community, I’m not just talking about the City of Kemmerer. I’m talking about all of us in a larger area. They feel the impacts from this, but also see the benefits as well.”

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