Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder, is also chairman of the nuclear reactor startup company TerraPower, LLC. On Oct. 23, Gates and his staff toured the Materials and Fuels Complex at Idaho National Laboratory.
The federally funded lab is also funded by private industry, including Terrapower, based in Bellevue, Wash.
When addressing employees after his tour Gates said, “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,” the INL said in a statement.
“Terrapower has many cooperative projects and there are lots of partnerships, but our work with INL is singularly important,” said Gates. TerraPower has gained attention for both its traveling wave reactor design and the financial backing of clean technology investors. Several Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) established over the past few years enable the company to receive technical insight from the nation’s nuclear energy laboratory and use its vast capabilities.
“We enjoyed showing off our experienced researchers and one-of-a-kind capabilities for Mr. Gates,” said Laboratory Director John Grossenbacher. “His interest in nuclear energy and INL’s contributions helps the industry’s future and reinforces the value of DOE’s national laboratory complex.”
(l-r) INL’s Grossenbacher, Gates, and Mark Henry, research director of the Materials and Fuels Complex. Photo by Chris Morgan, INL photographer.