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Bill Gates: Energy Innovation

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WIRED Business Conference 2011

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lump1 Avatar
Posted: 10.24.11, 03:54 PM
As an environmentalist that also studied this matter, I'm convinced that we have to listen to people pushing for new reactors. We have to start taking the horrendous coal plants offline as soon as possible. I think we can all agree: Coal plants are the nastiest sources of power that we use now. They kill the most people, they cause the worst pollution, etc. So what can we do to take these plants down ASAP? It won't be renewables only. It won't be conservation plus renewables, not unless we discover unicorns or something. People don't realize how long it takes to scale something up, and how serious our energy/environment problems really are. Gates is absolutely realistic in thinking that this won't have a big impact before 2030. But that the best thing that we can realistically hope for. Hopefully, there will be lots of wind farms and solar by then. But you'd be crazy to think that we could get these two to 15% of our total generation portfolio. Most projections expect far less, but I think that 15% wind/solar by 2030 is the right goal to aim for. The real question is what the rest of the system will be like. Right now, in terms of megawatts, coal is the largest growing source of US electricity. (In this ecological age, far more than half of our NEW megawatts come from coal. Most of the rest comes from natural gas. I know that might be shocking, but please don't hide from reality.)
gjrussell Avatar
Posted: 10.09.11, 04:00 AM
The Chinese have their first fast neutron reactor running now. Is it generation IV? To say no is really hair splitting. All the components of Gen IV have been demonstrated, particularly the reactors themselves ... and have run successfully for decades! The US shut their last one down in the mid 1990s. see As for safety. How many were diagnosed in the US today with colorectal cancer? Over 200. And yesterday? Another 200. And tomorrow? Another 200. About half of these are down to red and processed meat. How many people have died as a result of radiation from Fukushima today? None. Yesterday? None. Since May? None. How many people have died of colorectal cancer in the US since Chernobyl? About half a million. And of radiation from Chernobyl? A few thousands. Nuclear power is far, far, far safer than red meat, alcohol, tobacco or coal fired power stations. To oppose nuclear power is tantamount to wanting to wreck the climate irreversibly.
Grattan Avatar
Posted: 06.05.11, 04:29 PM
Hi Bill, You are a smart guy but, like so many smart people, you have been fooled by the nuclear apologists. The premise of your argument is deaths per kWhr, which presumes the public really knows the true death rate from nuclear. But what we are told on this is simply false, and grossly so. Those setting radiation standards (ref: Valentin, ex Sec. ICRP) now admit they are wrong when dealing with ingested isotopes, as opposed to external gamma radiation. The European Committee on Radiation Risks (ECRR) has tried to correct this error with its own standards. Cancers caused by Chernobyl on the corrected basis will be over a million. I respectfully suggest you visit: to see for yourself. Given your incredible work on health, globally, this is a serious error by you. Please check these facts before discussing nuclear. Thank you, Grattan Healy, Ireland Admin Secretary, ECRR
Atom299 Avatar
Posted: 05.11.11, 03:19 PM
This whole thing is moronic. Climate change is natural and has always been with us and hopefully always will be. There is NO evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate despite all the nonsense we've been told. It's obvious we should use the least polluting forms of energy available to protect our environment but Nuclear produces the most dangerous pollution of all. While we might be able to run future nuclear plants relatively safely, there's no way were going to be able to protect our planet from the long term effects of the nuclear waste they produce.
Andrew Atkin Avatar
Andrew Atkin
Posted: 05.06.11, 01:45 AM
The fact remains you cannot trust "money people" with something as dangerous as nuclear. The consequences can too easily be too devastating for when you get a meltdown. Also, history has demonstrated countless times over that having blind faith in governments is probably one of the most moronic things that a given citizenry could do. There are solutions to this 'great problem' but it's too complex to go into here.
ldasteelworker Avatar
Posted: 05.05.11, 08:52 PM
It’s a traveling wave reactor… A few claims and falsehoods: 1) Zero emissions – not true if you consider routine gaseous radioisotope emissions and the complete nuclear fuel cycle; 2) Nuclear waste – it produces the same types of spent nuclear fuel and nuclear wastes as the boiling water reactors do today – it’s the same nuclear reaction as fast breeder reactors only engineered differently; 3) It produces the same byproducts that can be diverted for either dirty bomb or atomic bomb production (i.e. Plutonium, etc.). If Bill Gates is keen on solving the climate change issue then he had better realize that, even ignoring all the problems of the current state of nuclear power, the cost and time to develop and build these reactors doesn’t make the cut when compared to what he belittles as “cute.” Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute ( ) when ask if we can solve the problem of climate change without nuclear power responds: “Of course! Not only that, but we could do so more effectively and more cheaply. It is quite true that if a nuclear plant displaces a coal plant that would replace carbon emissions. But if you spent the same money on efficiency, renewables and combined heat and power, you would reduce the carbon emissions by about two to ten times more and about 20 to 40 times faster. So nuclear is such a slow and costly climate solution, it actually reduces and retards climate protection, compared with a best buys first approach.” So Bill Gates how about an equal chance for clean renewable energy too? If he was sincere about the energy issue he would support the alternatives equally and let the best technologies win! Nuclear power has and continues to kill humans do some in-depth research on your own. With the exception of Coal, all the other sources combined do not have the unique ability to contaminate vast swaths of land and people with radioisotopes that wind up in our air, water and food - fact not fear!
huskybear59 Avatar
Posted: 05.05.11, 02:58 AM
Get a life if you don't trust your Government Who do you trust?
jagadees Avatar
Posted: 05.04.11, 08:26 PM
So arrogant talk. Nuclear technology is just about boiling water. Is there any safer, cheeper way to do that? People should ask that question and throw these people to dust bin. They are pushing this technoly because investment is heigh and its on tax payer's shoulders. Also the percentage money they will get more because of huge investment compaing to renewable tech. Do not buy Microsoft products. Use and share Gnu/Linux with freedom.
Andrew Atkin Avatar
Andrew Atkin
Posted: 05.04.11, 11:23 AM
One of the fundamental reasons why nuclear power plants are unsafe is because they are run by people like Bill Gates. That is, people who will shit on anyone and anything to make more money, so they can feel cool. The Gulf oil spill, for example, happened because rich nerds at the top controlled the regulatory body that was supposed to stop BP from drilling that well. I understand the same sort of thing happened at Fukushima. These people CAN. NOT. BE. TRUSTED. And neither can governments that have been bought and paid for.