Bill Gates since his departure from Microsoft has tried to devote a good portion of his efforts to answering many of humanity’s biggest problems. Climate change, energy shortages and incurable diseases are part of it. For some, this position of Gates is too arrogant, for others, an example to follow.
Among his leverage to seek these changes, in addition to the foundation he maintains with his ex-wife, Gates founded TerraPower in 2006, a company dedicated to finding new ways in which nuclear power can be made more sustainable. The company was born with the aim of investigating a potential reactor based on so-called propagation wave nuclear fission, focusing its operations on depleted uranium rather than on enriching it.
“Nuclear power is the most efficient energy source we currently have” He has said on many occasions. The project has evolved into its current version, with the closest possibility being a power plant that operates on sodium.
The reactor is called Natrium, and it is expected to come online in 2028. Gates recently visited the city of Kemmerer, Wyoming, where the first prototype will be launched to show off the futuristic location.
natrium reactor design which uses a sodium fluoride salt core and includes a molten salt storage tank that allows energy output to be adjusted based on demand.
The proposal is suggestive for several reasons. Sodium is the 4th most common substance on Earth, it would allow the energy generated to be stored (big lack of renewables right now). But, small amounts of uranium will continue to be used as fuel.
Very thoughtful design and location
Wyoming, the largest coal-producing state in the United States, has been selected as the site for Natrium’s first reactor project. Decision to build reactor on site The retirement of coal-fired power plants highlights the transition to clean energy sources.
Natrium’s innovative design also addresses some of the key challenges facing the nuclear industry, such as nuclear waste. The use of liquid sodium as a coolant allows the plant to operate at higher temperatures., increasing efficiency and reducing the cost of power generation. In addition, the technology has the potential to recycle spent nuclear fuel, thereby reducing the amount of high-level nuclear waste.
Of course, it is not without criticism
Despite the potential benefits, there has been some criticism of the Natrium project. Robert Haworth, a professor at Cornell University, argues that wind and solar power are cheaper, faster to deploy and safer than conventional nuclear power plants. He considers the Natrium project as an experiment and urges to focus on 100% renewable energy.
However, defenders of the Natrium project maintain that advanced reactor as Natrium They can complement intermittent power sources such as wind and solar, providing a reliable, carbon-free source of electricity. The US Department of Energy has awarded $80 million in seed funding to TerraPower to demonstrate Natrium technology, with a commitment to additional funding over the next several years subject to appropriations from Congress.