Nuclear power reactors that burn nuclear fuel waste, and more: A look into the future

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You can certainly grasp a future vision that is both exciting and challenging in this largely unviewed (less than 800 have seen it so far) presentation by Pablos Holman, associated with Intellectual Ventures Laboratory. Holman’s presentation at the Singularity University Summit earlier this year took us into some rather incredible places, including the development of laser zappers for mosquitos, maker-bot designer clothes, and vaccine distribution coolers that can do their jobs for months — in the Sahara Desert.

Perhaps Holman’s most interesting topic is a new type of nuclear reactor, now under development by an associated business, TerraPower. The traveling wage reactor (TWR), will use reprocessed nuclear waste to generate energy at a cost competitive with existing light water reactors, essentially recycling the massive volume of nuclear waste currently stockpiled. The company asserts its design will not encourage unlawful nuclear proliferation.

Singularity University, in part funded by Google, stretches an interdisciplinary culture, encouraging the adaptation of artificial intelligence, computing power, and innovation in other disciplines.

Agreed, much of what is happening here won’t really change the rules for the architecture, engineering or design world (and certainly for its marketing practices) for some time. Nevertheless, it is helpful to look around and ahead of us to see where we are going. (And if you want to be added to TerraPower’s supplier list as the company moves to design and construction, you can do it here.)

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