We all know that the first attempts to harness nuclear energy for electricity have gone awry in Russia, Japan, and here in the United States. However, smaller and more efficient nuclear reactors using different and more advanced technology are on the horizon.

As a follow-up to last week’s post on Oppenheimer and the first atomic bomb, this week’s post is about Bill Gates and one of his companies, Terra Power. They are set to build the newest type of nuclear reactor for the generation of electricity in Kemmerer, Wyoming. It will produce electricity with zero carbon emissions, and the amount of nuclear waste will be reduced to a much more manageable level.

The choice of the site in Wyoming is a good one for this startup. The plant will take the place of defunct coal operations in the area but will take advantage of the already-in-place power grid.

The cooling system consists of an underground tank of liquid sodium unlike the cooling towers and water-cooling systems used in the past. An added advantage to this new system is that if there is a problem, the system will just shut down instead of heating up and exploding.

So cleaner and safer and compatible with the existing power grid. We are on the brink of a renaissance in nuclear energy.