TerraPower, a nuclear energy technology company, was formally established in 2008 as Intellectual Venture’s first spinout company. TerraPower’s sodium-cooled traveling wave reactor (TWR) re-imagines nuclear technology, bringing enormous cost savings, highly enhanced safety, greatly reduced toxic waste, greater ease in waste disposal, and a high level of weapons proliferation resistance. The TWR can provide access to reliable electricity in the areas of the world that need it most, stimulating economic development and improving global health while reducing overall environmental impacts.
The key innovations in the TWR are advancements in fuel, materials, and engineering, which allow the TWRs to use fuel much more efficiently and over a longer period of time. These innovations will allow TWRs to utilize depleted uranium (DU), rather than enriched uranium, as their primary fuel. By using inexpensive DU, the TWR will produce its own fissionable fuel capable of sustaining a fission chain reaction for decades. This greater fuel utilization will allow TWRs to load enough fuel up-front to last for up to 40 years, compared to today’s reactors that must replace and store fuel assemblies every 18 to 24 months. The TWR will also store used assemblies inside the core, obviating the need for external storage, transportation and disposal. These capabilities offer the highest barriers to weapons proliferation, and enable enormous economic and environmental benefits.
IV Lab has supported research for TerraPower’s TWR since its inception. IV Lab’s Scientific Instrument Manufacturing and Testing Group plays an important role in TerraPowers materials testing program.
The Instrument Shop allows IV Lab to develop ideas quickly from concept through to manufacture and testing.
The Electronics Lab houses a wide selection of specialized equipment and software for prototype fabrication and analysis.
The Biology and Chemistry Lab combines a pair of active wet laboratories with experienced biologists and chemists.