Bill Gates building nuclear reactor (but it's only a little one)

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Bill Gates (yes, really) and Toshiba are reported to be building a next-generation nuclear reactor.

Unlike other light-water reactors, which need to refuel every few years, it would be able to run for 100 years on a single supply of depleted uranium.

It would be based on Traveling-Wave Reactor technology and would have an output of about 10,000KW, making it suitable for developing countries.

Most of the technology required is already available in the form of one of its own earlier designs, the 4S, Toshiba told the Nikkei business daily.

Gates, operating through a company called TerraPower, and Toshiba, which owns US nuclear firm Westinghouse, expect to get US approval for their design later this year.

They hope to have their first reactor finished by 2014, with mass production five or six years after that. Gates could invest several billion dollars of his own money, said Nikkei.