Bill Gates Finds Enlightenment At Idaho Nuke Lab

Oct. 25, 2013 | OPB
CONTRIBUTED BY:
David Steves


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  • Bill Gates during a tour last week at the Idaho National Laboratory. credit: Idaho National Laboratory
Bill Gates during a tour last week at the Idaho National Laboratory. | credit: Idaho National Laboratory | rollover image for more

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The billionaire Bill Gates made a trip this to Idaho on behalf of his nuclear power start-up to see what he can learn at the Idaho National Laboratory.

According to the INL’s press shop, the Microsoft co-founder found the tour to be pretty insightful.

“Getting to visit INL was really enlightening. It was amazing to see reactor fuel analysis and how it can be conducted safely in a hot cell environment,” Gates told employees of the INL, according to the lab’s summary of the trip.

Gates is chairman of the nuclear reactor startup company TerraPower, which is headquartered in Bellevue, Wash.

The goal of TerraPower is to develop a nuclear reactor that draws power from nuclear waste — a quest detailed last month in a New York Times profile.

It noted that although Gates is the second-richest person in the world (sitting on $72 billion, according to Forbes), he’s trying to raise $5 billion to build a demonstration plant in China.

TerraPower has been working with the Idaho National Laboratory on design aspects for its reactor — which is referred to as a “traveling wave reactor” because of the wave pattern traveled by the converted plutonium during fission.

— David Steves

© 2013 OPB
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