OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Governor Bill Lee and several other state leaders gathered in Oak Ridge on Thursday for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site of a major advancement in nuclear fuel technology.
TRISO-X, owned by X-energy, will soon start building North America's first commercial-scale advanced nuclear fuel facility in Oak Ridge. This large facility is meant to produce the fuel used by reactors to generate electricity across the country.
It's called the TRISO-X Fuel Fabrication Facility and organizers said 400 jobs are expected to open because of it. The facility is expected to produce 8 metric tons of fuel per year starting out.
Congressman Chuck Fleishmann (R - Oak Ridge) was at the groundbreaking. The project started when the Department of Energy started a competition between companies and organizations to build a facility. X-Energy won the competition, he said.
"They're going to go somewhere. I want all new nuclear work to come here to Oak Ridge. It's very competitive. There are a lot of very good labs," he said. "Corporate America, when they stepo forward and win like X-Energy, they could have gone anywhere in the country. They chose Oak Ridge."
Governor Lee said nuclear facilities like the one they plan to build are essential to guaranteeing the future of the country's energy infrastructure.
"Nuclear energy plays a role in the future of America. Energy independence, energy security, national security — these are important reasons why investing in nuclear energy matters," he said.
Congressman Fleischmann also said the company chose to build its facility in Oak Ridge because of a supportive community in the area. He said that community leaders and groups welcomed the company — which was unique. He also said the new facility demonstrated how important it is that the country develop ways to fund nuclear energy projects.
"The rest of the world is moving forward. Our friends are moving forward and our foes are moving forward," he said. "We need a funding mechanism. Countries like Poland, Czechoslovakia, and several other countries have come to me saying they want to do business with American new nuclear."