December 10, 2011
Gates, China Collaborating On Cleaner, Safer Nuclear Reactor
A Washington-based company, created and funded by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, will work with Chinese scientists to jointly develop a new, novel type of nuclear reactor, various media outlets reported on Friday.
According to the Associated Press (AP), the reactor -- which Gates said would be "very low-cost, very safe and generate very little waste" during a discussion China's Ministry of Science and Technology -- will run on depleted uranium.
UPI and BBC News report that the so-called fourth-generation reactor could take up to five years and cost more than a billion dollars to complete. Discussions between China and the Gates-founded TerraPower were at an "early stage," the 56-year-old Microsoft chairman said.
"All these new designs are going to be incredibly safe," Gates also told the audience, according to the AP, adding that they "require no human action to remain safe at all times," and because the company can simulate earthquake and tsunami conditions as part of the project, that it "takes safety to a new level," he said.
The BBC reports the design that the Washington-based company is working on is known as a travelling wave reactor. By using depleted uranium as a power source, it should produce less nuclear waste than other types of reactors, the British news agency added.
The confirmation comes after Sun Qin, General Manager of state-owned China National Nuclear Corporation, told Chinese media last week that Gates was working alongside CNNC in the research and development of a reactor, the AP reported on December 9.
Gates was reportedly in China in order to speak with Ministry of Science and Technology about a collaboration between the Chinese government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, designed in order to fund research that will help combat poverty in the Asian nation.
"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," Gates said, according to the AP.
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