Bill Gates is investing in advanced nuclear power development
I’ve got a hot tip for you. According to an article in Seattlepi.com titled What’s next for Gates? Anything he can dream up, Gates is taking an active interest in a nuclear power project. He has been talking about all kinds of ideas with Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft. According to Myhrvold,
Gates is investing in a project inside Myhrvold’s Intellectual Ventures LLC, which is working on a new type of nuclear reactor that would use fuels other than enriched uranium — including spent fuel from existing reactors.
The idea is to create a nuclear reactor that is simpler and cheaper than current reactors, and generates clean power without waste or proliferation problems, Myhrvold said. The problem with such a project, for the traditional investor, is the significant risk that it won’t work. Even if there is a payoff, it might not come for 20 or 30 years.
Now that is the kind of visionary thinking that we need. Of course, there is no need to wait until that technology arrives before building new plants, anymore than there was a need to have a Core II Duo before writing software for PC’s. We have sufficient knowledge today to safely store used fuel for centuries, so when reactors are ready to use it as fuel it will be kind of nice to have plenty of available inventory ready to go.
Hat tip to NEI SmartBrief and John Cook’s Venture Blog that together provided the trail that led me to the Seattlepi.com article.