Australian news, and some related international items

Bill Gates’ “Travelling Wave” nuclear reactor project with Chinese shuts down

Bill Gates’s Experimental Nuclear Power Plant Halts Construction in China, Gates cites the Trump Administration’s aggressive stance for having to pull out. Popular Mechanics , By David Grossman, Jan 3, 2019  “……..Gates invested  in TerraPower in 2011 with the hope of helping to prove the company’s core concept: a so-called traveling-wave reactor (TWR) which would run on depleted uranium, as opposed to the enriched uranium commonly used in nuclear plants……… In 2015, the company signed a deal with the Chinese government to be a small demonstration plant to be constructed by 2022. Since then, it has remained relatively low-profile. ……

 In October 2018, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said that the United States “cannot ignore the national security implications of China’s efforts to obtain nuclear technology outside of established processes of U.S.–China civil nuclear cooperation.”

The Department of Energy then announced it would deny any new licenses from U.S. companies wishing to work with the Chinese government, and current licenses would not be given extensions. The department cited the indictment of the Chinese state-owned nuclear corporation in 2017 alongside Taiwanese-American Allen Ho, who was eventually jailed for assisting the Chinese state on nuclear issues.

In his year-end letter for 2018, Gates notes that “we had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely.”
Pulling out of the project leaves TerraPower’s future uncertain. According to company CEO Chris Levesque, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, the price of a demonstration reactor is around $1 billion. Having to cancel a project worth such an extraordinary amount would likely be the death knell for most new players in any field. Most new players, however, aren’t funded by Bill Gates—still valued by Forbes to have a fortune north of $93 billion………..

January 5, 2019 - Posted by | General News

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