Silicon Valley may be pursuing the will-o-the-wisp of a solar economy (while quietly moving their manufacturing facilities out of California), but up in Redmond Bill Gates is embracing nuclear.
The world’s third richest man just chipped in $35 million to fund TerraPower, which is trying to develop the traveling wave reactor – a fast breeder reactor that could run for thirty years without refueling by consuming its own wastes. TerraPower (energy from the earth – get it?) is the outgrowth of Intellectual Ventures, another Gates startup that has been looking for cutting-edge technologies. Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft’s longtime idea man, heads Intellectual Ventures.
Silicon Valley, much more enamored to this point with trendy wind and solar ventures, may finally be getting on board. Vinod Khosla, who has spearheaded the California plunge into renewbles, kicked in a small amount on TerraPower, as has Charles River Ventures, one of Boston area’s leading venture capital firms.