Bill Gates said in his year-end letter last month that he planned to work to persuade U.S. leaders to embrace advanced nuclear technologies as a solution to curbing climate change. That work appears to have begun as The Washington Post reported Friday that Gates is making the rounds on Capitol Hill looking for support — and billions of dollars.
Gates founded the Bellevue, Wash.-based TerraPower in 2006, and the venture had been working toward building a pilot project for its traveling-wave nuclear technology in China. Policy regulations put in place by the Trump administration have made that unlikely and Gates is hoping to make his grand plan happen in the U.S.
The Post reported, based on accounts from congressional staffers, that the Microsoft co-founder is telling lawmakers that he personally would invest $1 billion and raise $1 billion more in private capital to go along with federal funds for TerraPower’s pilot plan.
Gates has reportedly met with lawmakers from both parties, including Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). He also met with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and three other senators last month.
Jonah Goldman, of Gates Ventures, stressed to The Post that Gates was not advocating for TerraPower alone. Gates thinks the U.S. has “the best minds, the best lab systems and entrepreneurs willing to take risk,” Goldman told the newspaper. “But what we don’t have is a commitment on Congress’ part.”