15 June 2010 - TerraPower, a nuclear energy start-up backed by Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft, has raised $35m in a new round of funding to aid the development of a reactor fueled by nuclear waste, reports Reuters.
TerraPower is a nuclear spin-off project from Intellectual Ventures, a Bellevue, Washington-based incubator run by former Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold.
TerraPower is developing so-called traveling-wave reactors that use depleted uranium as fuel and have the potential to run up to 100 years without refueling.
Current nuclear reactors use enriched uranium, which require frequent refueling and produce significant quantities of radioactive waste.
In an interview with Reuters, Myhrvold said TerraPower's new approach of burning nuclear waste from existing reactors has a significant cost and safety advantage from traditional reactors.
"We are in the process of doing reactor design and simulation and we will be in that phase for another couple of years.
"Within a few years, we hope to have relationships and partnerships for building a reactor," he added
TerraPower, which is aiming for a 1.1 GW test reactor, hopes to be selling commercial reactors by 2020.