On why he invests so much in nuke R&D: “The good news about nuclear is that there has hardly been any innovation.”
Is there any super-rich tech geek who knows less about WTF he is talking about than Bill Gates? Bizarrely, he keeps dissing technology deployment as a source of innovation, even though that’s how he innovated and got rich (see below).
Even more bizarrely, Gates loves nuclear power because … wait for it … there’s been no innovation. He just said at the Wired business conference:
“The good news about nuclear is that there has hardly been any innovation. The room to do things differently is quite dramatic”
Seriously. That must hold the record for trying to make lemonade out of lemons. It is certainly possible to believe that the lack of innovation in nuclear power is due to, oh, I don’t know, businesses simply sleeping on the job for the past 30 years.
Or perhaps there is another reason, as a 2010 paper argued (see Does nuclear power have a negative learning curve? ‘Forgetting by doing’? Real escalation in reactor investment costs): “It may be more productive to start asking whether these trends are not intrinsic to the very nature of the technology itself: large-scale, lumpy, and requiring a formidable ability to manage complexity in both construction and operation.”
But it isn’t enough for Gates to tout his big brilliant bet on nukes — “In recent years [Gates] has invested hundreds of millions in nuclear energy start-ups” – or for him to bet big on geo-engineering. No, he has to attack energy efficiency and solar PV: