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Large holding company seeks to build nuclear power plant in Butte

A large holding company is looking to build in Butte, and their plans include utilizing nuclear energy.

At Wednesday night’s Council Of Commissioners meeting, the head of XGen informed the local legislative body of their intentions to relocate here from Florida.

XGen has the backing of Westinghouse and is seeking to build a nuclear power plant that would scale up to 500 megawatts, using specialized eVinci microreactors.

The company is working to acquire 160 acres in the business industrial park. They also plan on manufacturing air purifiers and bringing manufacturing of their night vision product to town. They patented the technology for both.

“Westinghouse is already game to do the project in the county, so the intent would be to purchase the land in the next two to three months. If we can acquire the land (in that time), we are able to actually have right around 100 megawatts of nuclear power online by January 2026. Being that it’s a small modular reactor and that they are portable, there is going to be no waste dealt with here in the county. They are closed cells, so it’s not like if you guys have ever seen a nuclear power with a big open water-cooled reactor. These are actually enclosed, air-cooled reactors. So there is no water risk. There is no water intrusion risk. It is all air cooled, air sourced,” said Christian Barlow, XGen Holdings chairman.

“This is real. This is an opportunity for Butte-Silver Bow. For our local companies, REC (Silicon), Montana Resources, all of our companies that are high power users could benefit from this. It’s something I think I can stand behind and I can support,” said Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher.

XGen’s presence in Butte would bring dozens of jobs to the area at first, with more to come as they get more operations online.

Power generated would become available for use by XGen as well as the largest manufacturers and energy users in town.

Because of a law passed by the Montana Legislature in 2021, voter approval is not needed to build a nuclear power plant. However, various other local approvals are needed, and XGen is in close communication with the state on their plans.

Barlow moved to southwest Montana four years ago and spent over two years vetting Butte and Anaconda as potential locations to move his business before honing in on the Mining City.

Source: NBC Montana