After Japan’s tsunami, much of the positive light shed on nuclear energy since Chernobyl has vanished. It is likely hard to find many people with confidence in the safety of nuclear energy these days. Concerns ranging from waste, to meltdowns, to terrorist attacks have nuclear power on par with apocalypse and while those concerns are blown wildly out of proportion, they are still valid. Nuclear power has gotten a bad rap over the years, but a rebirth is on its way.
In comes TerraPower. The company’s mission to develop a sustainable and economic nuclear energy system while greatly reducing proliferation risks and creating new options for converting low-level waste into vast energy resources, puts the company in a world that many would deem as science fiction. Their new technology is still in development, but boasts the ability to turn nuclear waste (depleted uranium) into vast sources of power. TerraPower projects their traveling wave reactor (TWR) to turn an 8-metric-ton canister of depleted uranium into 25 million megawatt-hours. That is enough power for 2.5 million households for an entire year. [Read more...]