Now that Bill Gates is only the second richest human on the planet, he needs some help funding his crazy schemes. His latest, as we reported in our cover story last week, is a plan to invent nuclear power reactors that use the dangerous waste uranium left behind by traditional reactors as fuel. If successful, the new reactors would provide carbon-free energy and solve the problem of where to store nuclear waste. Ta-da!
Toshiba, the company that brought you this awesome tape player in the Eighties, wants to build nuclear reactors.
Today comes news he may have found a business partner to help him do it--emphasis on "may." The Japanese company Toshiba, makers of everything from fax machines to 55-inch hi-def flat screen televisions, is "looking into the possibility of working" with Gates on the project, reports Agence France-Presse.
It's not exactly an earth-shattering announcement, but it's better than no business partner prospects.So far Gates' miracle reactors only exist on paper at the Bellevue-based invention house Intellectual Ventures. Building a real one would require a years-long process of public hearings, inspections and permitting by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
And then of course, you have to pay for it, which is tough, even for the second richest man in the world. That's why the Toshiba news is potentially big. Though let's not get too ahead of ourselves, the company hasn't said that it will give Gates' any money, just that it's thinking about it.