OilPrice.COM: Tech Billionaires Are Betting Big On Nuclear Power

:pushpin: Nuclear power is back, in a big way.

:pushpin: Silicon Valley billionaires are betting big on the clean energy tech.

:pushpin: Between 2015 and 2021, investment in nuclear energy grew around 325 percent by volume and 3,642 percent by dollar value.

Between 2015 and 2021, investment in nuclear energy grew around 325 percent by volume and 3,642 percent by dollar value, according to Pitchbook. This year alone, venture investors devoted a record $3.4 billion to nuclear startups. While this is significantly lower than the investment in other renewable energy sources in recent years, due to the nuclear power industry having to start almost from scratch, it shows a significant rise in interest that is expected to continue. Greater investment in the sector will be supported by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which offers companies tax breaks and other financial incentives for investing in green energy, including nuclear power. And in March, the U.S. Congress approved record funding for a public-private partnership programme to build new fusion devices, encouraging private companies to invest more in the sector.

This year, several tech billionaires have publicly shown their backing for the energy source. Elon Musk tweeted that nuclear is “critical” to national security. Meanwhile, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen called for “1,000 new state-of-the-art nuclear power plants in the U.S. and Europe, right now.” Similarly, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Peter Thiel have all financed nuclear projects in recent years. In fact, Josh Freed, from Washington-based think tank Third Way, believes: “We wouldn’t be having a conversation about innovation in nuclear power today without the investment and thinking of the leaders of Silicon Valley.”

As well as existing nuclear plants, several startups are catching the eyes of tech giants. It is still early days and these startups have yet to produce nuclear power. But some think they’re getting much closer. Christofer Mowry, CEO at Vancouver-based General Fusion, explained “Silicon Valley has been the foundation of the entire private fusion industry.” And the technological advances coupled with greater urgency to shift to green could be a catalyst for the industry.

Following decades of stagnation, nuclear energy companies are finally getting the boost they need to develop projects and deliver meaningful amounts of low-emissions nuclear power to the U.S. Previously, the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, that was the last nuclear project to be approved, in 1973, faced major delays and cost increases meaning that production only began in 2016. But now, existing nuclear plants are gaining state and private support, while startups are receiving the funding needed to develop innovative technologies to support the advancement of nuclear power.