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Bill Gates says he’s ready to put billions into nuclear power

Bloomberg
Bloomberg • 2 min read
Bill Gates says he’s ready to put billions into nuclear power
Bill Gates, the sixth richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index. Photo: Bloomberg
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Bill Gates said he’s prepared to plough billions of dollars into a next-generation nuclear power plant project in Wyoming to meet growing US electricity needs.

TerraPower LLC, a startup founded by Gates, broke ground for construction of its first commercial reactor last week in Wyoming, where a coal plant is shutting down, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft Corp. said on CBS’s Face the Nation. TerraPower has explored simpler, cheaper reactors since 2008 and expects to complete the new reactor in 2030.

“I put in over a billion, and I’ll put in billions more,” said Gates, the world’s sixth-richest person according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

TerraPower’s plant, which has backing by the US Department of Energy, was initially expected to be operational in 2028. But that would have meant relying on fuel from Russia, which is “unacceptable now,” Gates said on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS.

The reactor design uses liquid sodium as a coolant rather than water and includes molten salt that can store heat to boost its output. TerraPower plans to source reactor fuel from the US and its allies, Gates said.

“Coal is being outcompeted by natural gas,” Gates told CNN. “And so what we have to do is compete effectively with natural gas.”

See also: Sustainable sukuk poised for further growth

Carbon-free nuclear power is increasingly seen as a key part of fighting climate change, and more companies are promoting smaller reactors. Last year, 25 nations at the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai declared an ambition to triple nuclear capacity, according to BloombergNEF.

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