Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Japan's Toshiba will team up to develop a next-generation nuclear reactor that can operate for up to 100 years without refueling, a report said Tuesday.
Their joint development efforts will focus on the Traveling-Wave Reactor (TWR), which consumes depleted uranium as fuel, the Nikkei economic daily said without naming its sources.
Current light-water reactors require refueling every few years.
Gates is expected to use his personal wealth to back the development of TWRs and his investment could reach as high as several billion dollars, the paper said.
|Then Microsoft Corporation chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates is pictured delivering a speech at a joint press conference with Toshiba Corporation, in Tokyo, in 2005|
The TWR technology is being developed by TerraPower, based in Washington State and effectively owned by Gates, the paper said.
As TerraPower lacks the know-how to manufacture nuclear power equipment, it has decided to join hands with Toshiba, which has developed a design for an ultracompact reactor that can operate continuously for 30 years, it said.
Toshiba owns US nuclear plant maker Westinghouse.
No immediate comment was available from Toshiba early Tuesday and a spokesman said he was checking the validity of the report.