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Bill Gates, Toshiba-backed TerraPower To Develop ‘traveling wave’ nuclear reactors

Bill Gates, Toshiba-backed TerraPower To Develop ‘traveling wave’ nuclear reactors

Microsoft Corp chairman Bill Gates. File photo

Microsoft (MSFT) founder Bill Gates loves to solve extremely tough problems. For example, he is backing a startup company, TerraPower, which is trying to develop small-scale nuclear reactors. To pull this off, Gates is prepared to shell out several billion dollars.

However, he will also need a strategic partner. And according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, there are preliminary discussions with Toshiba. While the company is best known for its computer business, it also has a strong footprint in nuclear, especially with its U.S.-based Westinghouse division.
The plan is to develop traveling-wave reactors (TWRs), which use depleted uranium fuel and operate underground. Essentially, the belief is that a unit can operate a hundred years without refueling. Yes, this is certainly a game changer.

And, it looks like the opportunity could be in emerging markets. After all, as the economies expand, there will be a growing need for cheap energy.

But, to make TWRs a reality, there is still much work that needs to be done, such as the development of new high-strength materials. In fact, commercialization is likely not to happen until at least another decade.

Tom Taulli advises on business tax preparation and is also the author of a variety of books, including The Complete M&A Handbook. His website is at


Bill Gates


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One comment

  1. April 25th, 2010 8:29

    This has been useful as for my marketing diploma I am focusing on the big electronic brands, and the widespread distribution of their products and the online coverage they receive. Thanks, this will be helpful for my analysis. Thanks, Adam


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