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Is Bill Gates' nuclear reactor a good idea?

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Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates confirmed Wednesday he is in discussions with China to jointly develop a new kind of nuclear reactor. Andy Wong/AP

Now that he's through with his duties at Microsoft, Bill Gates is turning his energies to a new area: nuclear power.

The entrepreneur and Microsoft co-founder confirmed Wednesday that he is in talks with China to jointly develop a new and safer kind of nuclear reactor, the Associated Press reports.

Since leaving Microsoft in 2008, Gates has concentrated on philanthropy and advocating on public health, education and clean energy issues.

Gates has largely funded a Washington state-based company, TerraPower, that is developing a Generation IV nuclear reactor that can run on depleted uranium and produce significantly smaller amounts of nuclear waste than conventional reactors.

Gates said that though the project is still in the very early stages, "The idea is to be very low cost, very safe and generate very little waste."
"It takes safety to a new level," he said, when speaking of the TerraPower reactor's ability to simulate earthquake and tidal wave conditions.

Is Bill Gates' nuclear reactor a good idea? Why or why not? Are you surprised by his most recent project? Share your comments below.

(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)

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