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Bill Gates jumps into nuclear shipping project

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, will participate in a nuclear project, which aims to introduce nuclear energy in shipping.

In particular, TerraPower, which is chaired by Gates, CORE POWER, Southern Company and Orano USA have created an international team in order to develop Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) atomic technology in the United States.

The team has submitted its application to the US Department of Energy to take part in cost-share risk reduction awards under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Programme to build a prototype MSR, as a proof-of-concept for a medium-scale commercial-grade reactor.

"The implications of the MSR for transport and industry could be transformational, as we seek to build scale-appropriate technology and broad acceptance of modern and durable liquid-fuelled atomic power to shape the future of how we deal with climate change," said Mikal Bøe, CEO of London-based CORE POWER.

The MSR can be the technology that forms the start of a "second atomic era", where climate change is the main driver of powerful, inexpensive, and safe new energy solutions, according to CORE POWER, which noted that "the MSR has an economic potential which could be greater than that of oil and gas, providing the sustainable, clean energy the industry needs to move deep into the future without polluting the environment."

Over the next few decades, as many as 60,000 ships must transition from combustion of fossil fuels to zero-emission propulsion. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), United Nation's body, has mandated with unanimous approval from 197 countries that shipping must reduce emissions by 50% of the 2008 total, before 2050. This means an actual emission reduction of almost 90%, by 2050.

MSR technology being developed by the consortium could achieve that goal, by powering the production of green sustainable fuels for smaller ships and providing onboard electric power for large ships, with zero emissions as standard.

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