Tata Chemicals North America Inc. will explore the use of small-scale nuclear reactors to power its soda ash operations in Green River, Wyoming, the company said on Sept. 28.
The company’s subsidiary Tata Chemicals Soda Ash Partners (TCSAP) signed an agreement with BWXT Advanced Technologies LLC (BWXT) for a project supported by the Wyoming Energy Authority.
Under the agreement, TCSAP and BWXT will assess Tata’s energy needs in Wyoming and develop a plan to deploy BWXT’s microreactor technology and create a long-term plan to operate power and heat cogeneration sets at the facility.
The TCSAP facility operates continuously. The company has been mining and processing trona ore, mineral that contains soda ash, at Green River since 1968. The facility consists of an underground trona mine and a surface refining plant that processes the ore into soda ash.
Wyoming is exploring nuclear energy as way to meet the energy demands of its local industries.
“One of our main goals in developing a nuclear energy industry in Wyoming is to be able to support our own in-state end users and industries,” said Rob Creager, executive director for the Wyoming Energy Authority. “With the demand for power only expected to increase, we need to support Wyoming’s industries to remain competitive in a global market. In some situations, more is more and nuclear power has tremendous potential to add value to Wyoming’s energy portfolio.”
Tata’s soda ash operations would not be the first chemical manufacturer to explore the use of nuclear energy to power its plants. Dow has partnered with X-energy to develop a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor for its Seadrift, Texas, complex. Dow expects to receive the construction permit for the project by 2026.