Skip to Content

China Isn’t Building a Traveling Wave Nuclear Plant (Yet)

Rumors of a partnership between TerraPower and China aren’t true.
December 7, 2011

The word is that TerraPower, a company backed by Bill Gates that’s developing a new kind of nuclear power plant, is going to develop the reactor in cooperation with the Chinese government. But that word is wrong.

News of the partnership has been spreading around the web, but the company says that it is just having discussions with China. It’s also talking to other countries, as well as with two research centers in India.

“We are sharing information on the [traveling wave reactor] with a variety of research, supply and manufacturing organizations, but there are no deals to speak to at this time,” John Gilleland, TerraPower’s C.E.O. said in a statement today.

According to The Guardian Bill Gates says “TerraPower is having very good discussions” with the China National Nuclear Corporation, but that those discussions are at an early stage. The company has been in these sorts of discussions for a couple of years now.

TerraPower’s technology is also at an early stage. TerraPower is developing a nuclear reactor that can run for decades on abundant fuel. (See our story Advanced Reactor Gets Closer to Reality for more details). It’s just a detailed design so far; and if it’s going to be able to run for decades, researchers will need to design new, radiation resistant materials for it.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Conceptual illustration of a therapy session
Conceptual illustration of a therapy session

The therapists using AI to make therapy better

Researchers are learning more about how therapy works by examining the language therapists use with clients. It could lead to more people getting better, and staying better.

street in Kabul at night
street in Kabul at night

Can Afghanistan’s underground “sneakernet” survive the Taliban?

A once-thriving network of merchants selling digital content to people without internet connections is struggling under Taliban rule.

Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it
Conceptual illustration showing a file folder with the China flag and various papers flying out of it

The US crackdown on Chinese economic espionage is a mess. We have the data to show it.

The US government’s China Initiative sought to protect national security. In the most comprehensive analysis of cases to date, MIT Technology Review reveals how far it has strayed from its goals.

IBM engineers at Ames Research Center
IBM engineers at Ames Research Center

Where computing might go next

The future of computing depends in part on how we reckon with its past.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.