Trusting Expert Ignorance

In the tradition of Richard Feynman, TerraPower’s mission-driven approach has filled our team with devil’s advocates who gleefully challenge our assumptions and solutions. We take for granted that our greatest teachers are, in fact, fallible and subscribe to the idea that there are no dumb questions. It’s an approach that drives us towards excellence in everything we do.

Because TerraPower relies on interdisciplinary collaboration, we’ve set out on an incredible, unprecedented development path: our research and development has been made visible earlier than most innovation companies choose to release their findings.

Stealth innovation happens when experts find ways to protect R&D efforts and preserve creativity amidst bureaucratic interference. But innovators need to eventually share the dreams and drafts they’ve investigated along the way; otherwise, potential solutions fade into history. That’s why TerraPower has been publishing since its inception. We publish papers and present at conferences in efforts to devise the best technologies that can solve the global energy crisis. We regularly participate in peer-reviewed conferences and journals, the traditional channels for scientific rigor. As a result, we’ve shared many drafts of our traveling wave technology over the years, and talked about many of our ideas to make it work. We’ve mulled over molten salt or thorium, among other traveling wave reactor (TWR) versions and new design concepts. As a result, there’s been some confusion about what problem our technology is designed to solve.

No matter what technological method we use to achieve it, we know that to truly solve the world’s growing energy demands, squared off against the threat of climate change, many different energy sources are needed. We encourage and support the exploration of various technology options, both nuclear and otherwise. In parallel with our TWR technology development, we continue to challenge ourselves and others to come up with additional ideas that can improve both future and existing reactor designs.We remain confident in TWR technology and can’t wait to see it implemented on a global scale, contributing to a carbon-free energy future.