09.01.2019_No6 / News in Brief

Trump Official Urges Gates To Build Advanced Reactor In US, Not China

Research & Development

9 Jan (NucNet): A Trump administration official has called on Bill Gates to work with the Department of Energy on building an advanced nuclear reactor in the US after the billionaire said he was close to shelving plans to do so in China.

Mr Gates said last month that his nuclear energy company, TerraPower, will probably not be building a pilot travelling wave reactor in China due to restrictions the DOE recently placed on technology deals with China.

In comments to reporters on Monday, deputy energy secretary Dan Brouillette said: “We hope we can work with them [Terrapower] and bring them back.”

The new DOE restrictions are aimed at preventing other nations from using nuclear technologies for military purposes.

Mr Brouillette said the department has had “several conversations” with Mr Gates on the matter and said he was hopeful the US government could streamline the permitting process to make it more likely TerraPower would pursue building the travelling wave reactor in the US.

Unlike traditional nuclear reactors, travelling wave reactors will be capable of using fuel made from depleted uranium, which is currently a waste by-product of the uranium enrichment process. The reactor’s unique design gradually converts the fuel through a nuclear reaction without removing it from the reactor’s core, eliminating the need for reprocessing.

Related reports in the NucNet database (available to subscribers):

  • Bill Gates’ TerraPower Says China Reactor Venture Is Now ‘Unlikely’ (News in Brief No.1, 02 January 2019)

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NucNet

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David Dalton

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