Though Gates has poured a significant amount of resources into TerraPower since he co-founded it in 2006, around half of the Natrium project in Wyoming will essentially be subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. The company will reportedly receive $1.9 billion from the government, $1.5 billion of which will come from funds dedicated to advanced nuclear reactors in the recent bipartisan infrastructure bill. The total cost of the plant should come out to around $4 billion.  TerraPower was also one of two U.S.-based firms that received $160 million from the Department of Energy last year to develop the new reactors.

The cost to build the Natrium reactor is a decent chunk of change, but far below the price of Plant Vogtle, the only nuclear plant currently under construction in the U.S. The plant could cost $28.5 billion to complete when all is said and done. It relies on traditional nuclear technology but has also faced cost overruns and missed deadlines.

TerraPower had previously attempted to build an experimental plant near Beijing but that project was cut short due to increased regulatory restrictions during the Trump presidency. Though countries including the U.S. have been experimenting with sodium-cooled fast reactors as far back as the 1950s, TerraPower’s Natrium would mark the first reactor operating on a large scale outside of Russia. France had spent years and millions of Europe developing its own prototype sodium-cooled nuclear reactor but ditched those plans in 2019. Other firms are also toying with still other nuclear plant designs, including a recently announced Rolls-Royce small nuclear reactor.