By: Chris Levesque, President and CEO
It takes a special commitment and culture to invest time and energy to develop new technology. There needs to be a dedication to the process and to the vision, one that is not dampened by the threat of set back and is not driven by immediate return on investment. Energy technology development requires a strong and finessed long game. No, this industry is not for the faint of heart.
We here at TerraPower understand that our last decade of serious engineering, testing and validation is setting the stage to revolutionize nuclear energy. A commitment to a common set of values and a shared mission allows all of us to be part of something larger than ourselves. We are part of the technologies that we believe will result in major societal benefits.
Having a shared vision is one thing, but it is the realization of our common values in the form of tangible results that sets TerraPower apart. Our approach thrives on three hallmarks:
We use mission-driven innovation to drive larger scale investments.
Investing inside of a bubble and then pushing a technology solution on the world isn’t enough to solve the big problems. TerraPower started with a set of issues we sought to aide, and then analyzed technology solutions we thought would better address them. It is important to place an emphasis on tackling global issues through innovation, rather than an emphasis on innovation as a means of profit. This has enticed investors who are willing to make a riskier, longer-term investment for the greater good of humanity.
Under this hallmark, we have been able to keep the larger picture in mind, maintaining passion and excitement in our work.
We abbreviate long development periods with a milestone approach.
Our approach to technology development recognizes that to move from vision to reality, we must follow a development cycle that is iterative, and with each iteration resolves the expert insight of multiple engineering disciplines (neutronics, materials, civil – you name it). Each optimization cycle is a repetition that allows us to gain feedback, guides testing and produce tangible results early on. This testing involves both computer modeling and experiments in the lab. With each cycle, we validate margins, reduce risk and gain further confidence from our stakeholders based on solid results. Most importantly, we have a clear finish line, which keeps our process from becoming an endless cycle.
TerraPower has used this process to begin with our mission, and then work towards the most effective end technology. Setting clear and achievable goals guides our work from stage to stage and helps create a roadmap towards the commercialization of technologies like our traveling wave reactor and molten chloride fast reactor.
We maintain a Commercialization Imperative.
There needs to be a commercial demand for what you have to offer. That is plain and simple. Commercial viability for nuclear in the clean energy mix relies on a strong business case, and TerraPower believes that there is no stronger case than the one we are offering. We seek out and establish strategic partnerships, so they are alongside us as we develop our final product, building a supply chain. Our milestone approach progressively builds confidence, and motivates others to join the team. As a result, we’ve begun building an ecosystem to support advanced reactor development in the United States.
The steps TerraPower has taken have given life to the program we have today. With our partners, investors and employees willing to make a longer-term commitment, we have made sure that TerraPower has the right mix of people willing to apply their patience, passion and talents to achieve one shared goal.
It is with this help that we are confident TerraPower will succeed in changing the world.