No doubt about it: Bill Gates’ annual letter to friends, family, and the entire world, is a billionaire’s wish list. In it, Gates notes progress made in Alzheimer’s disease research and says he is “still optimistic that we can eradicate polio soon,” although he is disappointed it hasn’t happened yet. Gates also says that the United States is falling behind other world powers in the field of nuclear energy and urges leaders to get back “into the game.”
His entire musings on nuclear power in the midst of a 2,618-word end of the year letter to humanity is immersed in his lament about accelerating dangers of climate change. “Global emissions of greenhouse gases went up in 2018,” Gates wrote. “For me, that just reinforces the fact that the only way to prevent worst climate-change scenarios is to get some breakthroughs in clean energy.”
Gates applauds the use of solar and wind power, notes that it is “getting cheaper,” but takes issue with renewable power sources that provide only intermittent energy. “Some people think we have all the tools we need, that driving down the cost of renewables … solves the problem.”
However, intermittent sources combined with a lack of cheap batteries that can store up electricity literally for a rainy day are not good enough to sustain the world’s ravenous appetites for energy.
Concerning nuclear power, Gates had this to say:
“Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, we will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.
“There are several promising ideas in advanced nuclear that should be explored if we get over these obstacles. TerraPower, the company I started 10 years ago, uses an approach called a traveling wave reactor that is safe, prevents proliferation, and produces very little waste. We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the United States have made that unlikely. We may be able to build it … if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen,” he wrote.
Anonymous comments will be moderated. Join for free and post now!
Nuclear is the only full time energy producer that’s clean and safe if regulated. It’s the only good choice to make now. And this country has stopped making new plants to keep up with the needs of the public. Mostly because of ignorance. People don’t know enough to know it’s the right choice.
We can only hope that our elected leaders listen.
Nuclear should be a strong source of power in our countries future.
I applaud Mr. Gates for his comments. His liberal friends may be going nuts, but Nuclear Power is the answer for those who think Climate Change is real. We need to get back to being leaders of the free world instead of being the buffoons.
If only he'd pitch in even a little, R&D would be eternally grateful.