Nuclear power is seeing growing interest. Billionaire Peter Thiel, co-founder of Paypal and Palantir, has been investing in technology companies for years. His venture capital group, Founders Fund, challenges the short-term mindset of many in Silicon Valley with its saying: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” Thiel is now aiming to disrupt the nuclear energy industry. As re/code reports, Founders Fund has recently made a new allocation called FF Science to "tackle hard problems" with financing for early-stage science ventures. It recently made its first investment - $2 million into a Cambridge, Massachusetts startup called Transatomic Power. Co-founders Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie developed the technology as graduate students at MIT. According to their website, Transatomic Power Corporation is commercializing an innovative molten salt reactor that safely burns nuclear waste to deliver vast amounts of affordable clean energy to meet the world's needs. The technical advisory board of Transatomic Power includes leading nuclear scientists and engineers with leadership experience from MIT, UNLV, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Oak Ridge National Lab, Idaho National Lab, and Westinghouse.
"Transatomic Power's innovative nuclear reactors turn nuclear waste into a safe, clean, and scalable source of electricity."
Founders Fund says it wants to take more risks on early-stage startups tackling difficult technical problems. “FF Science” is an allocation within its most recent billion dollar fund earmarked for seed-stage investments in areas like aeronautics, advanced computing, energy, life sciences and nanotechnology. He said the firm wants to invest in startups attempting to solve “some of the world’s most important problems.” They’re not looking for academic science experiments, but incorporated businesses with established teams, even if there’s considerable work left on the science side.
Check out this TED Talk given by co-founders Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie where they outline their new design and how it addresses issues of safety and waste: