There was a recent story by US News on the AP wire service about the new head of the Nuclear Energy Agency, talking about the promise of new nuclear technologies. The story goes on to discuss Bill Gates:
Gates is a major investor in the reactor development firm TerraPower, which is among a small number of U.S. companies trying to make major changes in nuclear power. The company, which primarily deals with large-scale reactors that would make and consume their own fuel, is also developing steel alloys that could apply to the modular technology.
“If you could make nuclear really, really safe, and deal with the economics, deal with waste, then it becomes the nirvana you want: a cheaper solution with very little CO2 emissions,” Gates told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview last month.
The article goes on to say:
one of the problems in turning theory into reality: Countries most able to make the investment have less incentive to do so. Both France and the U.S. are likely to extend the life of their aging plants to 60 or even 80 years.
“The fact that they are old doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not safe,” said Magwood, whose new post falls under the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. “The analogy I often use is it’s kind of like a car. You can replace many of the components in a car to keep it operating as long as you want.”
There are powerful forces that continue to push for new forms of nuclear power. Jim Hanson has joined others in promoting new nuclear technologies. There has been a movie, Pandora’s Promise. Bill Gates has become a powerful person with money to invest. Do we want a new nuclear technology developed by the people who have developed MicroSoft and Windows? Can you imagine? Litigation would trump cooperation. Secrecy would prevail with endless errors in code.