HOUSTON, March 7 Microsoft Corp
co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates said that expanding nuclear
power and making it safer was the most economic way to ward off
In an address to the IHS CERAWeek conference of
international energy company executives, he said safe and
reliable reactors were the best option and dismissed wind and
solar energy as less practical.
"The only way to solve the climate challenge is have some
source of energy that's economic," Gates told the gathering on
Expanding the nuclear option, he said, outweighed any notion
of wind or solar energy as large-scale storage systems for both
"You can site it where the power is needed," Gates said.
"Unless you think there is a miracle hidden in storage."
Gates is a primary investor in Terra Power, a company
working to create an improved, safer reactor intended to reduce
waste and avoid creation of any fuel that could be used in
But technology, he said, had to meet new, worldwide demands
for safety and reliability arising from the meltdowns at Japan's
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after the March 2011 earthquake
and tsunami - the worst civil nuclear accident in 25 years.
"Post-Fukushima, people are expecting to take some of the
instabilities out of the design of nuclear reactors," Gates
He also called on the U.S. Energy Department to increase its
investment in energy technology research and development.
"We should put a lot more into innovation. When we get a
carbon tax we should put some of that into innovation," he said,
According to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, the U.S.
Energy Department's investment in research and development in
2012 was $3.4 billion, down from $10 billion (in 2011 dollars)
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Ron Popeski)