Bill Gates’s Nuclear Energy Startup TerraPower Signs Deal With Chinese Counterpart

Sep 22, 2015

Clean energy is a big part of the Chinese president’s agenda while he’s in Seattle. That includes a focus on nuclear power – an issue that Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been working on. 

In 2006, Gates helped launch a Bellevue-based company called TerraPower. He invested money in it and became chairman. TerraPower is working on what Gates calls a next-generation nuclear reactor.

The reactor that TerraPower is working on uses depleted uranium for fuel. Essentially, it would run on nuclear waste. Gates says that’s more fuel efficient and safer.

“It avoids problems of nuclear material for weapons proliferation and it can make a huge contribution to the global goal of having low-cost, clean energy,” said Gates.

TerraPower Chief Executive Lee McIntire just signed an agreement with China National Nuclear Corporation for the two companies to work together to create this new kind of nuclear reactor. China is trying to invest in other kinds of energy including nuclear as a way to reduce emissions and improve air quality.