Chief Technical Officer
John Gilleland is the chief technical officer of TerraPower LLC, a company founded by Bill Gates (chairman), Nathan Myhrvold (vice chairman) and Dr. Gilleland in 2008 to focus on achievement of improved nuclear safety, proliferation resistance, energy security and economic power for all countries.
From 2008 to 2015, Dr. Gilleland served as TerraPower’s chief executive officer (CEO). Under his leadership, TerraPower transitioned from an idea to a globally recognized center for innovation and development of new nuclear reactors and other advanced nuclear systems. Dr. Gilleland now serves as the company’s technology evangelist, focusing on the long-term product vision and feasibility of TerraPower’s best-known product, the traveling wave reactor.
Previously, Dr. Gilleland founded and served as the CEO of Archimedes Technology Group, a company which created and successfully tested new technologies that can speed weapons waste cleanup and opens new non-chemical approaches to commercial spent fuel reprocessing.
As chief scientist and vice president of energy programs at Bechtel Corporation, he had responsibility for a large number of advanced energy production and energy distribution system projects. In addition to nuclear programs, he had responsibility for a number of renewable energy projects that included very large central receiver and photo-voltaic solar projects, large commercial geothermal plants, commercial and demonstration biomass, wind, advanced diesel-solar hybrid arrays, and several other exploratory systems. Energy storage projects included superconducting, battery, hydro-pumped, inertial and compressed air based systems. Distributed energy projects included commercial scale fuel cell installations, microturbines, and small commercial and home-use solar arrays.
Prior to his Bechtel experiences, he served as the U.S. managing director of the International Tokamak Experimental Reactor (ITER) program during its conceptual design phase, and senior vice president of General Atomics for fusion development.
Dr. Gilleland holds a Bachelor of Science in physics from Yale University and a doctorate in physics from the University of Michigan.