January 13, 2016

PROGRESS TOWARD SAVING THE PLANET: Advanced Nuclear Startup Terrestrial Energy Lands Initial Funding.

One of the most promising developers of advanced nuclear power plants, the Canadian startup Terrestrial Energy, has landed $7 million in funding. Although the investment is small, it is an important signal that the private sector might back innovative nuclear reactors as the search for low- or no-carbon forms of power generation accelerates.

More than $1.3 billion in private capital has been invested in North American companies working on advanced nuclear reactor technologies, according to Third Way, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. But much of that money has gone to companies pursuing nuclear fusion, which is in a far earlier stage than technologies that employ fission, the conventional form of nuclear power (see “Finally, Fusion Takes Small Steps Toward Reality”).

In addition to the money Terrestrial Energy has raised from undisclosed investors, Transatomic Power, a nuclear startup founded by a pair of MIT PhDs, has raised $6.3 million from investors including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund. Nevertheless, many new nuclear startups are still scrambling to fund their research and development programs. Terrestrial’s funding is “good news for everyone,” says Transatomic founder Leslie Dewan, “because it provides market validation for the sector as a whole.”

Faster, please.

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