TerraPower LLC, the nuclear energy company founded by Microsoft’s Bill Gates, is seeking for a new partner nation. The company aims to have a partner to gain assistance in early-stage trials and test its reactor technology. The move comes after new U.S. rules imposed the company to leave an agreement with China. The nuclear energy company signed an agreement with state-owned China National Nuclear Corp in 2017. Under the partnership, the companies aimed to construct an experimental nuclear reactor in the south of Beijing. The company had been working on the project for more than three years. But Gates stated that TerraPower is unable to follow its plans due to new restrictions of U.S. government regarding deals with China.
Thus, the company’s existing deal with a Chinese company has been canceled by the newly imposed rules by the U.S. Department of Energy. Additionally, the new rules are preventing the most nuclear business deals with China. While Gates says US laws are confining it to deal with China, so the company is seeking for a third country. TerraPower CEO Chris Levesque told the Wall Street Journal that the company is regrouping. He also said that they may find another partner for the nuclear project.
However, the new Energy Department rules do not ban all nuclear deals with China. Besides, they require an assurance that the technology will not be used for illegal purposes. Company officials of The Bellevue told the Wall Street Journal that the company doesn’t have any testing site now. They are looking for a country where they could conduct trials of its technology. The Bellevue has developed a technology to use depleted uranium as fuel for nuclear reactors in order to improve security and costs. Currently, there are very few countries that are eligible to associate in a billion-dollar project. Gates intends to pressurize for changes to US regulations that will enable him to develop the reactor in the country.
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