TerraPower finds unique value in the public-private partnerships offered by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). DOE’s national laboratories take on basic science issues that most private sector companies cannot afford to tackle, laying the foundation for knowledge that can be translated into commercial products. Its commitment to public-private partnerships allows companies like ours to connect archived research and test results with modern computing power, enabling the use of historic data in modeling and simulation to create advanced designs based on a solid scientific foundation. Just a few examples of these agreements in action:
- Idaho National Laboratory (INL) provides experimental facilities for TerraPower’s fuel and materials development program for the traveling wave reactor (TWR). This includes further investigation of irradiated fuel rods as well as the development of new, industrial scale processes for manufacturing fuel pins. In the fall of 2013, our chairman Bill Gates viewed this national resource’s expertise and capabilities firsthand.
- Los Alamos National Laboratory provided irradiated samples of materials that TerraPower integrated into its materials development program. Both TerraPower’s optimized materials and this older material are currently being irradiated at the Russian reactor BOR-60. Information from this work will allow direct comparison of improvements in material behavior.
- We continue to work with INL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory to look at new models that support our advanced reactor designs. This work ranges from developing safety analysis techniques to modeling seismic activity to improving reactor operations.
Whether it is a public-private partnership or another link in our supply chain, each collaboration brings the world a little closer to a safe, economic and sustainable nuclear energy solution. In the process, we invest in the future of American innovation and bolster economic and energy security both in our own backyard and around the globe.