Ideas to Change the World

The world’s population is expected to increase to nearly 9 billion by 2040 and net electricity generation is expected to increase 93 percent to support this growth. Current energy sources will be hard pressed to keep up with this demand without having major negative impacts on the environment. In 2006, Bill Gates and a group of like-minded visionaries decided that the private sector needed to take action. It was believed that business interests could develop a scalable, sustainable, environmentally friendly, and cost-competitive energy source that would allow all nations to quicken their pace of economic development and reduce poverty. An expert group of scientists and engineers was brought together to analyze all energy generation technology options from a total systems perspective. This group concluded that the best option for addressing the world’s growing energy challenges was to expand the utilization of nuclear energy, in a more suitable form, on a global basis.

Today, many countries are investing in low-carbon energy sources to fuel their economies. From wind turbines and solar panels to new forms of biofuels and hydropower, a mix of generation types will be vital to meeting global energy demand in a responsible and sustainable way. TerraPower’s market focuses on better solutions to meet the need for base load power and to provide continuous electricity at a constant rate regardless of the weather or the season. Nuclear energy is a proven source of reliable, base load power. Its economic performance and emissions-free benefits have significant advantages. However, nuclear energy does raise some concerns relating to design safety, economic cost, environmental impact, nuclear weapons proliferation and energy security. TerraPower’s traveling wave reactor (TWR) addresses these challenges associated with conventional nuclear reactors. The TWR simplifies the necessary nuclear energy infrastructure, reducing overall costs and enabling a safe, secure form of nuclear energy.


The TWR relies on the natural laws of physics to maintain the safety of the plant without operator intervention. Read about its safety features.


TerraPower’s TWR uses inexpensive depleted uranium as fuel with great efficiency, creating a cost-competitive nuclear energy technology. Read about the economic advantages of the TWR.


Compared to conventional reactors, TWRs require far less uranium mining and produce less high-level waste. Read more about the TWR’s environmental impact.

Proliferation Resistance

By reducing the need for enrichment and chemical reprocessing, the TWR addresses security and proliferation concerns. Read about the TWR’s security benefits.

Energy Security

The TWR will help a country secure a dependable supply of electricity. Read about the TWR’s energy security benefits.