Bill Gates-Backed Firm Funded for Novel Nuke Technology


TerraPower, a company seeking to commercialize a novel nuclear power technology which has the enthusiastic backing of Bill Gates, has raised $35 million in venture funding.

Seattle-based TerraPower said on Monday that Charles River Ventures led the series B round, which also had money from Khosla Ventures.

Rather than split enriched uranium, a traveling-wave reactor uses depleted uranium as a fuel source, which is turned into a fuel with a "fast-moving" neutron.

TerraPower was spun out of Intellectual Ventures, the intellectual property licensing company headed by Nathan Myryvold, to commercialize traveling-wave nuclear reactors.

The basic idea behind traveling-wave reactors is to use a small amount of enriched uranium and spent uranium fuel from traditional nuclear power plants to produce electricity. Rather than needing to refuel every several years, these reactors would be able to operate for decades without refueling.

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    Martin LaMonica is a senior writer covering green tech and cutting-edge technologies. He joined CNET in 2002 to cover enterprise IT and Web development and was previously executive editor of IT publication InfoWorld.