August 30, 2016

Kevan Weaver, Director of Technology Integration

The work we’re doing with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and other national laboratories plays a vital role in TerraPower’s research and development program. It supports a variety of advanced reactor technology innovations we have underway, including new materials and fuels to support the first traveling wave reactor.

Earlier in August, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel at the Intermountain Energy Summit, talking about TerraPower’s public private partnerships and their many benefits. The summit highlighted the role INL plays in the American clean energy industry, as well as the impact of the lab on the regional economy. This is just one example of these vital relationships. Our country has a rich and ongoing history of cooperation.

NASA’s space program is one of the most famous and visible examples of a public-private partnership. In 1915, NASA’s predecessor the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was founded expressly to foster relationships between the government and private industry in aerospace and aeronautics. Just over 50 years later, the first man walked on the moon. Today, NASA continues to focus on public-private partnerships, like their landmark collaboration with SpaceX that keeps us moving toward the stars.

Argonne National Laboratory’s (ANL) work with the automotive industry offers another great example. Though ANL is well-known for nuclear energy advancements, they’ve partnered with various American automakers to support the commercialization of next-generation cars and electric vehicles. Just recently, researchers at Argonne shared insights on how to create better engines for use in tomorrow’s cars.

Perhaps, if private companies like TerraPower continue to partner with the labs on advanced nuclear technologies, we will have a shot at accomplishing our own generation’s “moonshot” – clean, safe, reliable energy for the world.