Although disputed by scientists, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who has spearheaded several initiatives on the research and development of clean energy, still claims that nuclear power will help the world deal with climate change and get to zero emissions by 2050, pushing the United States to build new nuclear reactors for that purpose.
Gates, who gave speech at the Nuclear Energy Assembly organized by a US Nuclear Trade Industry Association as a virtual event, pointed that there are more nuclear reactors in the country slated for retirement than new reactors under construction.
He undelinded that the first thing that should be done is keep safe reactors operating because the US needs more nuclear power to zero out emissions and to prevent a climate disaster, adding that that it’s hard to imagine and affordable decarbonization of the power grid without using more nuclear power.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2021 could set a record for the biggest number of retired nuclear reactors.
Gates’ company TerraPower, that received $80 million in investments from the US Department of Energy last October and advertises its advanced power plants as a path to clean energy, is building next generation nuclear power plants using natrium technology.
Professor Mark Z. Jacobson, on the other hand, claims investing in nuclear energy will lead to a climate disaster, pointing to the related risks like meltdowns, radioactive waste, and uranium mining.
Jacobson, who signed a public petition calling on the international community to transition to 100 percent renewable energy, also emphasizes that building nuclear power plants will take a long time, something the world can’t afford at the moment.