A company backed by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Toshiba are in early talks to jointly develop a small nuclear reactor, the Japanese electronics giant said yesterday.
The Nikkei Shimbun earlier reported that the two sides would team up to develop a compact next-generation reactor that can operate for up to 100 years without refueling to provide emission-free energy.
The business daily said the joint development would focus on the Traveling-Wave Reactor (TWR), which consumes depleted uranium as fuel.
Current light-water reactors require refueling every few years.
“Toshiba has entered into preliminary talks with TerraPower,” Toshiba spokesman Keisuke Ohmori said. “We are looking into the possibility of working together.”
Gates, 54, is the principal owner of TerraPower, an expert team based in the US state of Washington that is investigating ways to improve emission-free energy supplies using small nuclear reactors.
Unlike the current reactors at mega power plants, the smaller types could be introduced by cities or states or in developing countries more easily.
Ohmori said Gates, together with other TerraPower executives, had visited a Toshiba laboratory for nuclear power research near Tokyo last year.
“TerraPower is developing a small nuclear reactor and Toshiba is developing a different kind of small reactor. They were interested in Toshiba’s technology and aiming at practical realization” of small reactors, Ohmori said.
He said the two sides had just begun to “exchange information” but stressed that “nothing concrete has been decided on development or investment.”
Gates is expected to use his enormous personal wealth to support the development of TWRs and his investment could reach several billion dollars, the Nikkei said.
The news boosted Toshiba’s share price by about 4 percent yesterday.
The Nikkei said TerraPower had decided to join forces with Toshiba as it lacks the know-how to manufacture nuclear power equipment.
Toshiba, which owns US nuclear plant maker Westinghouse, has developed a design for an ultracompact reactor that can operate continuously for 30 years.
The company is preparing to apply for US approval to start constructing the first such reactor as early as 2014 and put it into practical use by the end of the decade, Ohmori said.
Semiconductor stocks on Friday took a beating after a grim profit warning from Idaho-based Micron Technology Inc sparked fresh worries about the US’ earnings power as the country is potentially heading for a recession. Despite a broader stock market rally, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange Semiconductor Index dropped 3.8 percent after Micron, the largest maker of memory semiconductors in the US, flagged that demand was cooling for chips used in computers and smartphones. The index — which is home to US chip giants Advanced Micro Devices Inc and Nvidia Corp, as well as Micron — is down 38 percent this year. Historically, semiconductor
WHOLLY OWNED SUBSIDIARY: Costco Wholesale said it expected the purchase of the remaining 45 percent stake to add 1 to 1.5 percent to its earnings per share US-based Costco Wholesale Corp on Thursday said that it had purchased the remaining 45 percent stake in Costco President Taiwan Inc (台灣好市多) for US$1.05 billion, making the local company a fully-owned unit. “We estimate that the purchase would add about 1 to 1.5 percent to [our] earnings per share,” Costco said in a statement. Costco President Taiwan was established as a joint venture with Kaohsiung-based President Group (大統集團), which held a 45 percent stake. Since the first Costco store opened in Kaohsiung in 1997, 14 outlets have been set up in Taiwan, company data showed. PROFITABLE Three Costco stores in Taiwan — in Taipei’s Neihu
SOARING PROFITS: Semiconductors and shipping have knocked automaking and construction out of the 10 highest paying industries, stock exchange data showed Mobile phone chip designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科) posted an average of NT$5.15 million (US$173,249) in annual compensation for non-managerial employees last year, marking the highest among all firms listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE), exchange data showed. That is a 66 percent increase from the company’s average compensation of NT$3.08 million in 2020, as its earnings per share (EPS) expanded from NT$26.01 in 2020 to NT$70.56 last year. That is also three times higher than the average compensation of NT$1.7 million in the nation’s semiconductor industry, the data showed. The increases helped MediaTek advance its ranking from third in 2020, replacing
EXPANSION: The airline will offer two flights per week to Milan from Oct. 25, and four flights per week to Munich from Nov. 3 using its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) yesterday announced that it would begin nonstop flights from Taoyuan to Milan and Munich later this year, marking its first expansion in the European market in 25 years. Starting on Oct. 25, the airline will operate two flights per week between Taoyuan and Milan, implementing a plan that was scheduled for February 2020, but was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdowns across the world. The airline will also launch four weekly flights to Munich, Germany, on Nov. 3, it said. The schedules for the two flights will cater to in-transit passengers, as they will arrive