By: Chris Levesque, President and CEO
Innovation fails when attempted in a vacuum. An extreme statement? Maybe so. The fact is that partnerships facilitate innovation, and allow for risk-sharing that gives the push needed to explore the unknown. Partnerships like that of William Hewlett and David Packard evolved over time to lay the groundwork for critical and timely innovation. The advancement and application of their servers, software and integrated systems is a wonderful byproduct of this collaboration. Their legacy can be seen in HP’s innovation that continues laterally across industries to this day. TerraPower believes that the commercialization of advanced nuclear technology will be no different. We continue to put together an impressive aggregate of more than 80 suppliers, universities, laboratories and nuclear energy consultants that will help us commercialize our advanced nuclear technologies.
While the historic U.S. fast reactor program ended in 1995, the benefits of this prior work can be renewed. Private sector efforts apply modern computer science to past experiments’ results. This allows companies like ours to connect archived research and test results with improved analytic power. We can use better data in modeling and simulation to create advanced designs. Past work can be analyzed in new ways. And, we will be generating new results with the metallic fuel fabrication line we built at the Idaho National Laboratory, accessed through the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Gateway for Accelerated Innovation Nuclear (GAIN) program.
Seeing new relevance for expanded research, private investors have jumped in to energy technology development. These visionaries see nuclear technology applications not simply in terms of generation and delivery, but in terms of the societal impact. An improvement in the water, food, energy access nexus, an enabler to human exploration of Mars, a prescription for pollution-borne disease and illness – these are all areas that benefit from breakthroughs in advanced reactor technology. These new relationships exist outside of the traditional industry partnerships, allowing the ability to explore avenues that may have been left untouched.
TerraPower believes that no one style of partnership is better than the other. A coming together of different backgrounds, organizations and skill sets is a beautiful thing. And we here at TerraPower know that we have a fantastic team of organizations all fighting to bring new technologies that will better society.