Bill Gates and Toshiba are reported to be building a next-generation nuclear reactor.
Toshiba is in talks with a company backed by Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates to jointly develop advanced nuclear reactors, the Japanese electronics maker said Tuesday.
The Japanese electronics maker, which is also the world’s No. 3 chipmaker behind Intel and Samsung Electronics, added it will restart plans to build a factory to make NAND flash memory chips as the global economy recovers.
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.
Toshiba had originally planned to start building the factory in Mie in central Japan last spring and to complete it this year, but it put the project on hold due to the industrywide slump.