This video is supported by Luo Merit Scholar what would you do if you had a billion dollars we got this question a lot and it’s usually framed in the sense of like you know what do you want to do with your life like what would you do if money was no option but really a billion dollars can make.
A lot of change in the world I’ve.
Talked to at nauseam on this channel about Elon Musk and.
How he uses his capitalistic ventures to sort of further his vision for the world and I’ve talked about Jeff Bezos and how he wants to.
Transform humanity through Blue Origin of course they have more than a billion Jeff Bezos has more billions than anybody else in the world right now but one name that doesn’t.
Make the headlines nearly as much is Bill Gates and he really should Bill Gates of course became one of the richest men in the world by creating Microsoft but he retired as CEO that company in 2014.
And has since focused on humanitarian and philanthropic efforts through his foundation that he runs with his wife the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation their foundation.
Focuses on global issues of inequity in the areas of health education and economic development especially in the developing world specifically they spent millions of dollars fighting HIV and malaria in Africa but one of his big passions is clean energy in a fantastic TED.
Talk that I’ll link here bill talks about how the world global output of energy is going to go up forty eight percent in the next 50 years and the problems associated with the traditional forms of energy that we’ve been using in meeting that need traditional energy sources are too dirty most renewable sources.
Are too intermittent so on and so on what we need he says is a miracle something new and innovative we need a huge leap forward in our thinking on energy production which is exactly why.
He’s gotten on board with a company called Terra power there’s no such thing as a perfect energy source except the course fusion which we all know is always a few decades away fusion and an eight-year-old after eating a pound of chocolate that you know child labor laws nuclear energy is a topic that tends to split our room but the fact is we need to be embracing.
Of energy source available and nuclear is one of the only carbon free sources of energy that is not intermittent and with a few very high-profile exceptions nuclear is proven to be safe and reliable but of course there is a downside the waste product associated with nuclear energy is highly radioactive and dangerous for thousands of years and storing that is going to be difficult in the future but another problem is the issue of uranium enrichment something like 99% of the.
Iranian this dug up out of the ground is the isotope uranium 238 and the problem with you 238 is it’s not fissile you can’t actually use that in nuclear reactors for that you need you 235 u-235 is only 0.7% of the uranium that gets mine which means you need to take this ore and pull the 235 out and concentrate.
It that’s what uranium enrichment is but that means that 99% of the ore that gets dug out of the ground goes completely unused wasteful a bit this is one of the many reasons why alternatives like thorium get a lot of attention but what if we could actually do something with that u-238 this is exactly what Terra power wants to achieve with their traveling wave reactor the basic idea is this you take this super abundant.
U-238 and you pack it into reactor and then through a process that uses a small amount of enriched uranium blast it with neutrons the atoms absorb a neutron turning it into uranium 239 this has a half-life of 23 minutes before it decays in a neptunium 239 which has a half-life of 2.
4 days before it decays into plutonium 239 the conversion.
To plutonium 239 is what’s known as breeding insert or D joke here this plutonium 239 is highly.
Fissile so it fishin’s which creates heat which is used to turn turbines and create electricity so you basically get this wave.
Traveling through the reactor creating four zones the fresh zone which contains the fuel the breeding zone where.
The uranium 238 gets converted into plutonium 239 the fission zone with the plutonium fissions and generates heat and the depleted zone which contains the spent fuel this wave of breeding uranium in the plutonium is where it gets its name traveling wave reactor and this happens really slowly over several years in theory a traveling.
Wave reactor would only has to be refueled once a decade and there’s plenty of fuel to go around we’ve dug up so.
Much uranium 238 that our current supplies could provide eighty percent of the u. power grid for the next 1,000 years and maybe we’ll figure out Fusion by then Terra Power has stated that our.
Current supplies of uranium 238 represent over a trillion dollars of electricity now this is just a starting point for.
Terra power over time what’s this is perfected they want to actually be able to do the same thing with spent nuclear waste so we would actually be able to use our stockpiles of nuclear waste that are out there which there’s an.
Increasing supply of that as well but on top of innovating on traveling wave reactor technology or twr technology they’re also bringing back a type of technology that showed a lot of promise but never really saw the light of day in this liquid.
Molten salt reactor technology in the case of Terra power that color mcf are or the molten chloride fast reactor this type of reactor uses molten salt as a coolant which works at much higher temperatures and.
Hold this temperature for longer making a much more efficient at you know creating steam and turning turbines put these two technologies together and this is what you.
Did a hybrid breeder and molten salt reactor this is what Terra power wants to achieve with a little help from Bill Gates and supercomputers these technologies are fairly unproven molten salt reactors did do a lot of testing.
In the 60s but in order to make.
They put in the investment of actually building this thing they’ve actually built it in a supercomputer and ran thousands of simulations tweaking and adapting and changing it and proving it along the way so at least in the virtual world we know this thing works plus Tara powers building an impressive support network creating relationships with Oak Ridge National Laboratory Vanderbilt University.
In the government of China and they were awarded a 40 million dollar grant from the Department of Energy they hope.
To get their first demonstration plant up and going in the next four years and have a commercial plant working by the late 2020s.
Think about what this means if they can pull this off carbon free energy from.
An abundant fuel source it’s already been mined it’s just sitting there works for decades without refueling and it’s safer because it can’t melt down like light water reactors now most of the detractors of the traveling wave reactor technology have been people that are very pro thorium they want to see that be incorporated instead but it seems like I read that this breeder reactor technology can be reconfigured to work.
With thorium so this could actually be a step in that direction although I could be wrong about that don’t quote me bill gates believes in miracles but not.
In the sense that we have the entirety of human knowledge available at our fingertips at all times we can put hundreds of people in a 300-ton steel can and make it fly through the air and somehow that’s the safest mode of transportation we take for granted the ability to do.
That would have been deemed witchcraft just 200 years ago our entire world is.
A miracle so why not this one too.
Whether it’s the traveling wave reactor.
Or thorium reactors or fusion reactors we are.
Going to completely reinvent our energy grid over the next 50 years and if you want to take advantage of that and be a part of it have a career and a future in it it all starts with your education and lemare it is a smart way to do college instead.
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Merun calm slice answers with Joe links down the description I want to thank Lumiere for supporting this video and of course as always a huge shout out to my answer files on patreon who make all this so awesome and they contribute so much the channel thank you guys so much.
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