Software king of the world Bill Gates has said that more than new vaccines for AIDS or malaria, he wants to have clean energy at half its current cost.
To do that, he said, we’ll need new nuke technology.
Gates said one of the brightest hopes for clean, cheap power is a new form of nuclear power plant that re-uses waste uranium from existing nuclear reactors.
Gates said that to prevent famine, poverty and the hardship that will come with global climate change we need “energy miracles.”
However, some nuclear scientists and critics say the nuclear technology Gates highlighted is misguided, naive and expensive.
Most nuclear power plants today use radioactive elements like uranium to create nuclear fission and then produce electricity.
However the reaction leaves behind uranium waste which cannot be safely stored.
Gates has invested tens of millions of dollars in a Bellevue, Washington, company called TerraPower which is working to create nuclear reactors that generate hyper-fast nuclear reactions able to eat away at the dangerous nuclear waste.
The fission reaction in the process burns through the nuclear waste slowly, which makes the process safer. One supply of spent uranium could burn for 60 years. It does not need to be enriched which means that it can’t be nicked by terrorists to stick in bombs.
It also uses small amounts of uranium, which is important as global supplies run short.
It creates uranium that can be burned again to create “effectively an infinite fuel supply.”