Two nuclear startups reflect growth in nuclear field
By Karen Cochrane
Given that nuclear science and technology span many careers such as health care, research and nuclear power, there is a growing diversity of career options available. An example of the growing opportunities for those with nuclear training is TerraPower, the nuclear startup backed by Bill Gates and Khosla Ventures. The company, which is developing a traveling wave nuclear reactor, enhanced its momentum in 2011 as company executives visited with potential partners, investors and energy experts in the United States, China, France, India, Japan, Korea and Russia to generate additional interest in the company and its technology. Additionally, in late 2011 it was announced that Reliance Industries, Ltd., the Indian conglomerate that owns oil, telecom and retail businesses, acquired a minority stake in TerraPower. There should be more visits and fact-finding missions in 2012.
Another high-profile startup is General Fusion. General Fusion’s focus is on fusion technology in order to generate affordable, safe and plentiful electrical energy without greenhouse gas emissions, pollution or radioactive waste. In 2011 General Fusion completed a $19.5 million funding round to provide financing necessary to complete the first phase of its development and demonstration program. Its investors include Cenovus Energy, through its Environmental Opportunity Fund, Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Jeff Bezos, together with existing investors Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, GrowthWorks, Braemar Energy Ventures, Entrepreneurs Fund, Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and SET Venture Partners.
FIU alumni span the diversity of careers in nuclear professions. Below are links to a number of organizations and professional societies in the nuclear area which may be useful in your professional development.