• 4 hours British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 8 hours Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 10 hours Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 11 hours Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 12 hours OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 13 hours London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 14 hours Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 17 hours Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 23 hours India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 1 day Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 1 day Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 2 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 2 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 2 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 2 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 2 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 2 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 3 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 3 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 3 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 3 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 3 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 3 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 3 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 3 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 4 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 4 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 4 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 4 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 6 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
  • 6 days Texas Shutters More Coal-Fired Plants
  • 7 days Oil Trading Firm Expects Unprecedented U.S. Crude Exports
  • 7 days UK’s FCA Met With Aramco Prior To Proposing Listing Rule Change
  • 7 days Chevron Quits Australian Deepwater Oil Exploration
  • 7 days Europe Braces For End Of Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 7 days Renewable Energy Startup Powering Native American Protest Camp
  • 7 days Husky Energy Set To Restart Pipeline
  • 7 days Russia, Morocco Sign String Of Energy And Military Deals
  • 7 days Norway Looks To Cut Some Of Its Generous Tax Breaks For EVs
  • 8 days China Set To Continue Crude Oil Buying Spree, IEA Says
Alt Text

Rising Costs Slow The Growth Of Nuclear Power

High costs and public fears…

Alt Text

New Tech Is Transforming Japan’s Energy Sector

The tech that built bitcoin…

Alt Text

Russia’s Nuclear Sector Is Surging

With a long-standing nuclear tradition,…

John Daly

John Daly

Dr. John C.K. Daly is the chief analyst for Oilprice.com, Dr. Daly received his Ph.D. in 1986 from the School of Slavonic and East European…

More Info

Bill Gates to Build Nuclear Reactors in China?

Bill Gates to Build Nuclear Reactors in China?

Since the 11 March disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daichi nuclear power complex, when an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale was followed by a tsunami that destroyed the facility, the nuclear industry worldwide has been fighting back, arguing that new, improved reactor designs mean that nuclear power is still a valid option.

Surging economic incipient superpowers India and China remain committed to generating electricity with the atom as one of their best options to provide power to their populations’ surging demand.

And now Bill Gates is getting into the act in China, promoting a newer and reportedly safer reactor design, telling an audience at China's Ministry of Science and Technology about a project supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “The idea is to be very low cost, very safe and generate very little waste. All these new designs are going to be incredibly safe,” Gates insisted, adding that “they require no human action to remain safe at all times.” In a bow to his hosts Gates added, "China has a lot to contribute because it's solved many of the problems of poverty, not all of them but a lot of them, itself, and many Asian, south Asian and African countries are well behind, whether it's agriculture or health."

So, what’s Microsoft’s aging wonder boy promoting?

A “traveling wave reactor” (TWR) developed by Terrapower, a company he founded.

TerraPower says that its TWR reactor design could run for decades on depleted uranium and produce significantly smaller amounts of nuclear waste than conventional reactors.

Beijing is on board. State-owned China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) official Sun Qin was quoted in the Chinese media last week saying Gates was working with it on the reactor development, with Gates noting, "TerraPower is having very good discussions with CNNC and various people in the Chinese government."

TWRs are still in the design stage and yet to become actual products, but the designs’ appeal is their low-maintenance nature. TWR nuclear boosters aver that once started they would be powered by self-sustaining nuclear reactions and according to TWR proponents, the facilities could operate for four to six decades without requiring any refueling or removal of spent fuel rods.

And Gates is putting his billions where his vision is, committing over a projected one billion dollars in the next five years to develop the fourth-generation reactor.

Fukushima? No problem, according to Gates, as TWR designs would also be built to withstand damage caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

And while Terrapower’s discussions with CNNC are, according to Gates, still at an "early stage," the company has also talked to other nuclear nations such as India and Russia about its research.

Is it worth it?

Good question.

Consider the recent investment moves of Bill Gates’ billionaire buddy, Warren Buffet.

The “sage of Omaha” billionaire investor Warren Buffett just agreed to buy a Californian solar power farm worth $2 billion, with Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings acquiring Topaz Solar Farm. When up and running in 2015, Topaz Solar Farm, situated midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is expected to produce enough power to run 160,000 homes when it comes online. Topaz Solar Farm is the world's second-largest photovoltaic plant currently under construction, and is expected to generate 550-megawatts of electricity when online, or about half the power of a nuclear reactor.

The Nigerian proverb states, “When elephants fight the grass suffers.” Concepts of future energy production are getting trampled in this divergence of views of two of the world’s most affluent individuals. While personal friends, united by their generous philanthropic efforts, the differing approach of Gates and Buffet to 21st century issues could not be more stark.

Place your bets.

By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Randy Pickard on December 10 2011 said:
    Comparing Gates and Buffett's investments is apples and oranges. Buffett is using his cash to step into an investment that is almost guaranteed to throw off cash due to government subsidies (our tax dollars). All the prelimininary work has been done and he is taking advantage of a one off opportunity due to First Solar's cash flow difficulties. In Gates case, he is working to develop breakthrough technology that oould greatly benefit everyone on the planet if it results in safer nuclear power that produces less waste.
  • Crazy Cooter on December 10 2011 said:
    Randy Pickard has it exactly right. For those not familiar with Buffet's deal, it got hosed down over at ZH recently by Bruce Krasting:http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/another-sweet-deal-buffett-%E2%80%93-who-pays-you-doI follow nuke pretty closely and to date I have been firmly in the Thorium camp as far as long term solutions. Gate's poo pooed this (proven) approach in the video, but his tech seems appealing.Energy is the big nut that humanity has to crack if it is going to survive in anything remotely like its current form.Regards,Cooter

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News