Bill Gates Quotes
Born: October 28, 1955
I love nuclear. It does this radiation thing that's tricky (laughter). But they're good solutions. You know, it was interesting, recently, in Connecticut this natural gas plant blew up 11 guys. It just blew them up.
So we can simulate Richter-10 earthquakes. We simulate 70-foot waves coming into these things. Very cool. We basically say no human should ever be required to do anything, because if you judge by Chernobyl and Fukushima, the human element is not on your side.
Our flame is taking the normal depleted uranium - the 99.3 percent that's cheap as heck, and there's a pile of it sitting in Paducah, Kentucky that's enough to power the United States for hundreds and hundreds of years. You're taking that and you are converting it to plutonium (humorously under his breath) - and then you're burning that.
The concept of this so-called 'TerraPower reactor' is that you, in the same reactor, you both burn and breed. So, instead of making plutonium and then extracting it, we take uranium - the 99.3 percent that you normally don't do anything with - we convert that, and we burn it.
There was a concept a long time ago that you would do a different type of reactor called a 'fast reactor,' that would make a bunch of another element called plutonium, and then you would pull that out, and then you would burn that. That's called 'breeding' in a fast reactor. That is bad because plutonium is nuclear weapons material. It's messy. The processing you have to get through is not only environmentally difficultly, it's extremely expensive.
Finally, assuming that many of those are fulfilled, which won't be easy in tight budget times, we're taking the supply side at the basic research level, because that's where government is absolutely fundamental.
It's the same way that when the car got going, people thought it would be an electric car, people thought it would be a steam car.
My broad sense of this is that authors like Smil really paint the clear picture, and once you see that, it's kind of Oh, of course. That's such a primal thing to all these physical services that we take for granted.
We [US] are the biggest per person, by a substantial amount, greenhouse emitters, and we give the most foreign aid, not per person but in absolute. This is another issue where hopefully we will take a long-term approach which, even though we sometimes have a hard time doing that, it's easier for us, as a rich country with this kind of scientific depth, than it is for the poor countries who will suffer the problems.
Anyway, the US, as in most issues, is the best, has the best capability to lead, and really needs to lead. It doesn't [mean] that other countries won't pick different tacks and emphasize different things. In aggregate, they're almost half of the energy R&D. Europe, China, Japan - it's very important that they come along and contribute to these things.
what are the top 20 universities in the world that do good materials research that might create carbon fibers to do jet stream kites or new magnets that will allow [energy] generation to be done up there and you just bring the electricity down. You either have to bring down rotational energy, which is hard, or you have to have the generator up there and bring down the electricity. Well, putting the generator up there is hard to do because it's too heavy.
I think given all the different imperatives - getting energy to Africa, security of energy, climate change, that we should be spending half as much as we spend on health, which will get you all the way up to $15 billion - the health people don't like it when things get compared to their number.
The US spends more on energy R&D than all other countries put together, and I personally consider it quite inadequate. In fact, I would have said we should more than double it, if I thought the absorptive capacity could scale up and if it was actually possible to get to that level.
here are economies like China's economy where it's less than a tenth [of a percent] today, although it is growing, is quite small, because of the notion that the government takes care of everything, and Europe and China, philanthropy has not been nearly of the same scale.
Now, if you're rich, you can spend a lot of money, Netherlands-style, and reduce that. But Bangladesh or parts of India, like Calcutta, they just simply won't be able to afford that kind of protection.
The government's ability to select scientists and pick things that are fairly strange, because politicians don't like failures. They're only in office a short term, and many of these things take a long time.
We need to get a broader awareness. People say climate change is really bad, but painting that picture of what you're putting at risk.
Depending on how quickly you get ocean rise, you have people who live in river deltas [at risk]. Bangladesh is largely a river delta, and the rising sea level means that when storms come in, the human sanitation is backing up, the ability to farm, it's destructive-type situations like you saw in New Orleans with Katrina. You're increasing the frequency of that stuff in low-lying areas fairly dramatically.
Intermittency [in availability for wind and solar] changes the economics, particularly this requirement that the power company at all times be able to require power. That's large.
At the end of the day, natural-gas peakers sit back there and get financed so that the Midwest corridor can have a huge [period] of four to five days of no wind. The peakers are running big time to make that up, because that is the swing piece that can always be turned on.