While most of us would be content to retire if we were one of the richest men on the planet, Bill Gates is turning his
sites sights to nuclear power. His startup company TerraPower is working with Toshiba to create small nuclear reactors, designed to help developing countries.
TerraPower and Toshiba are creating traveling-wave reactors that use depleted uranium that only has to be replaced once every 60 to 100 years. Conventional light-water reactors require refueling with enriched uranium every 4 or 5 years. The new traveling-wave reactors are small and can generate enough power for small countries with secondary units that can be used as a backup during maintenance. Toshiba's already been working on mini reactors that run for about 30-40 years, and they believe that about 80% of the technology used in those can be used in the traveling-wave reactors.
Gates will be investing billions to develop the traveling-wave reactors, The first model could be produced as soon as 2014, although it could be 10 years before they are available for commercial release. I hope my retirement is as productive.