Everett nuclear research facility gets $750 million infusion

Bellevue’s TerraPower, which operates an Everett facility, got a hefty investment to fund research.

Test engineer Jacob Wilcox pulls his arm out of a glove box used for processing sodium at TerraPower, a company developing and building small nuclear reactors, on Jan. 13, in Everett. A major economic bill headed to the president has “game-changing” incentives for the nuclear energy industry, experts say, and those tax credits are even more substantial if a facility is sited in a community where a coal plant is closing. Bill Gates’ company, TerraPower, plans to build an advanced, nontraditional nuclear reactor and employ workers from a local coal-fired power plant scheduled to close soon. (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson)

Test engineer Jacob Wilcox pulls his arm out of a glove box used for processing sodium at TerraPower, a company developing and building small nuclear reactors, on Jan. 13, in Everett. A major economic bill headed to the president has “game-changing” incentives for the nuclear energy industry, experts say, and those tax credits are even more substantial if a facility is sited in a community where a coal plant is closing. Bill Gates’ company, TerraPower, plans to build an advanced, nontraditional nuclear reactor and employ workers from a local coal-fired power plant scheduled to close soon. (AP Photo / Elaine Thompson)

EVERETT — TerraPower, an energy company that operates a 65,000-square-foot nuclear research facility near Paine Field, has secured $750 million in private funding.

The Bellevue company’s Everett facility supports research and development. The lab uses supercomputers to model, test and refine designs for nuclear generation systems and medical therapies.

TerraPower, which is developing nuclear energy and medical technologies, was launched by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in 2006.

The funding was led by SK Inc. and SK Innovation, subsidiaries of SK Group, a South Korean holding company.

SK Group, whose business portfolio includes semiconductors, sustainable energy, telecommunications and life sciences, invested $250 million.

With the close of the $250 million investment, SK “has become a large shareholder of TerraPower,” SK Group said in a news release.

Additional funding will come from other investors, TerraPower said.

The investment furthers TerraPower’s aim to advance nuclear energy technologies and nuclear medicine. A TerraPower program is developing a medical isotope that may aid drug developers in the development drugs that target and treat cancer.

TerraPower is building a prototype nuclear reactor in southwest Wyoming, which will test the power plant’s engineering, construction and function.

The company received an initial $80 million to build the company’s new Natrium reactor demonstration plant through a competitive grant offered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program.

An illustration of the TerraPower Natrium nuclear-power plant planned for Kemmerer, Wyoming. (TerraPower)

An illustration of the TerraPower Natrium nuclear-power plant planned for Kemmerer, Wyoming. (TerraPower)

Because nuclear power does not emit carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases, it is considered a carbon-free energy source. Nuclear reactors currently supply about 20% of the electricity consumed in the United States. Another 60% of America’s electrical power comes from fossil fuels — coal, natural gas and renewables. The remainder is generated by renewables, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“TerraPower is committed to solving some of the toughest challenges that face this generation through innovation,” said Chris Levesque, president and CEO of TerraPower.

“Whether it’s addressing climate change with carbon-free advanced nuclear energy, or fighting cancer with nuclear isotopes, our team is deploying technology solutions and investors across the world are taking note,” Levesque said.

Moohwan Kim, executive vice president and head of Green Investment Center at SK Inc., said: “We are committed to supporting TerraPower’s global deployment of game changing products. We see important synergies in our businesses and this investment reinforces our strategic global carbon reduction goals.”

TerraPower is not the only energy company to receive funding.

Last year, Everett-based Helion Energy, which focuses on generating electricity from nuclear fusion, secured $500 million in funding with the promise of another $1.7 billion, should it reach certain milestones.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

MyMyToyStore.com owner Tom Harrison at his brick and mortar storefront on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Near-death experience planted seeds for downtown Everett toy store

Former attorney Tom Harrison survived 9/11. It caused him to ask what’s important in life. Today, he runs MyMyToyStore.

Sean Jones, membership executive of Everett's Freedom Boat Club, helps club member Carolyn Duncan load equipment onto her boat before she and a friend head out crabbing onThursday, Aug. 11, 2022, at the Port of Everett in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New Everett franchise offers boats at Everett Marina

Freedom Boat Club’s newest Washington location is in Everett, with six boats available to its members.

Devin Ryan, left to right, talks with Donald Whitley and Drew Yager before a test ride at Bicycle Centres Wednesday in Everett, Washington on August 24, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
New hands take the handlebars for Bicycle Centres

Longtime employees Devin Ryan, Aron Chaudiere and Ryan Brown bought the business that’s been around since 1976.

A truck drives past a sign displaying fuel prices on Friday, Sept. 2, 2022 in Arlington, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Diesel prices stay high for truckers, farmers

Gas prices have fallen steadily this summer, but diesel costs have started to climb again.

FILE - Test engineer Jacob Wilcox pulls his arm out of a glove box used for processing sodium at TerraPower, a company developing and building small nuclear reactors, Jan. 13, 2022, in Everett, Wash. A major economic bill headed to the president has “game-changing” incentives for the nuclear energy industry, experts say, and those tax credits are even more substantial if a facility is sited in a community where a coal plant is closing. Bill Gates' company, TerraPower, plans to build an advanced, nontraditional nuclear reactor and employ workers from a local coal-fired power plant scheduled to close soon. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Everett nuclear research facility gets $750 million infusion

Bellevue’s TerraPower, which operates an Everett facility, got a hefty investment to fund research.

Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Business briefs: Leadership Snohomish County names new executive director

Plus a new short-term, career programs at Edmonds College, state grants for small businesses and more.

Tim Leonard, owner of the Machine Shop, is closing the arcade this fall. (Photo by David Welton)
Arcade owner to pull plug on beloved Whidbey Island business

Tim Leonard, owner of the Machine Shop in Langley, recently decided he’ll call it quits this fall.

Jennifer Sadinsky is the owner of Grayhorse Mercantile, one of Langley’s newest stores. (David Welton)
Shopkeeper brings taste of Europe to Whidbey Island

A first-time business owner’s dream of opening a cheese shop became a reality this year.

Eviation's all-electric plane in flight Tuesday morning in Moses Lake, Washington, on Sept. 27, 2022. (Eviation)
Arlington’s all-electric plane, Alice, takes first test flight

Eviation Aircraft’s battery-powered plane logs successful first flight from Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake.

At two stores – in Edmonds and Renton – Wide Shoes Only store owner Dominic Ahn offers more than 600 styles of shoes for people with wide feet. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
These Edmonds and Renton shoe stores could change your life

Wide Shoes Only: Huge selection, expert fitting and superior customer service

Amber Weaver, who has worked at the Lakewood Crossing Starbucks for 5 years, with her daughter Melody, outside of her workplace on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Complaint accuses Starbucks of anti-union threats in Marysville

Meanwhile, a mother of two said Thursday that Starbucks refused to accommodate her schedule when she returned from maternity leave.

Snoop Dogg in a video announces the opening of 'Tha Dogg House' in January 2023. (Screenshot).
Dogg toyz: Funko, rapper Snoop Dogg greenlight new retail venture

“Tha Dogg House” opening next year in Inglewood, California, will be Funko’s third U.S. retail store.