Gates’ comments came on the heels of his visit to Kemmerer, Wyoming, where a “next-generation” nuclear power plant, the Natrium plant, is in the works. According to the billionaire, TerraPower, a Gates-founded company, designed the plant, which could potentially be in commission in 2030.
Sharing a photo of the plant on Twitter, Gates wrote, “This next-generation nuclear facility will be a win for the local economy, America’s energy independence, and the fight against climate change.”
The tech entrepreneur wrote that he sees Natrium as the most advanced nuclear facility in the world when it opens. More importantly, the plant would be much safer and produce less waste than conventional reactors, he wrote.
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Natrium Is Different: Touting the safety of the Kemmerer plant, Gates said, unlike conventional nuclear reactors, which use water as a coolant, the plant uses liquid sodium, which can absorb all the extra heat generated in the nuclear core.
The Natrium design also includes an energy storage system that allows it to control the amount of electricity it produces at any given time, the billionaire wrote. This is essential “for integrating with power grids that use variable sources like solar and wind,” he added.
“It’s the kind of effort that will help America maintain its energy independence,” Gates wrote.
Why It Matters: “The world needs to make a big bet on nuclear,” Gates wrote. The billionaire argued that nuclear power is essential for the world to meet its energy needs and eliminate carbon emissions, adding that none of the other reliable sources are as clean.
Incidentally, Germany recently phased out its remaining nuclear plants despite an energy crisis, citing the uncontrollable risks they pose.