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比爾.蓋茨談核能
發布時間:2014-10-21 來源:《中國核工業》

??? 記者您作為全球頂級IT專家創造了以Windows為平臺的軟件產業的輝煌業績,現在又從事慈善事業,您常常說一生要實現三個愿望。第三個愿望,就是讓人類用上清潔、經濟的電能。為了達成這個愿望,您把希望寄托在您認為最有潛力的核能身上。您是從何時起因何事而對核能開始感興趣的?
  
  
  蓋茨先生:作為三年前我在TED大會演講的一部分,我說過,我內心深處有一個愿望,希望全世界能夠生產出比煤更便宜的無碳能源。
  
  我對核能感興趣有兩個原因。第一是因為在中國,我們已經看到,獲得能源是讓人們擺脫貧困的關鍵。它極大地促進了教育、醫療、交通以及其他方面的發展。第二個原因是,因為在全球最貧窮的地區生活的農民,即將面對由于氣候變化所帶來的潛在的災難性后果。盡管他們幾乎沒有做過什么導致氣候變化的事情。世界正面臨著減少碳排放這個無法回避的緊要任務。
  
  我們需要可持續的、可再生的、低碳的新能源。創造這樣一種資源并將其在全世界范圍內使用,會幫助我們阻止全球變暖,同時也將對消除貧困和提高全球居民的生活水平產生重要作用。
    
  縱觀我的整個職業生涯,我對創新的力量篤信不疑。所以,我通過投資很多的新能源公司來追求這個夢想。其中,讓我感到尤其振奮的是泰拉能源公司。它是一個我參股其中并且擔任了董事長的核能公司。這個公司有一個創新性的設計,能夠極大地提高核能的安全性能,以便讓核能成為非常令人振奮、能夠提供大規模、安全、清潔能源的方式。
    

  記者在您看來,核能在當代能源發展中占有怎樣的位置?您如何看待核能的未來發展方向?
  
  
  蓋茨先生:核能已經在現代能源開發方面發揮著重要的作用,而且它還將在推動世界二氧化碳限制排放的進程中發揮更為決定性的作用。相比于其他能源,比如煤炭,核能的總體安全記錄是顯著的。但是,人們對于核能安全和它所產生的廢物的擔憂,必須得到解決,特別是在福島核事故發生之后。
  
  在過去的30年里,盡管依賴于安全、清潔和廉價的電力,經濟有了快速發展,但是在核技術應用領域,卻幾乎沒有太大的進步。當你身處發展中國家時,你會發現,用電的好處是顯而易見的。學習所需的照明、冷藏疫苗、凈化水、潔凈廚具都需要用電。假如可以以廉價(和清潔)的方式提供,電力就會變成為窮人帶來福祉的變革性力量。
  
  如果能合理、負責、又安全地利用好核能,核能就能夠為我們提供高品質生活所需要的大部分基本電力負荷。并且,它對環境不會產生任何負面影響。我對泰拉能源感興趣,就是因為公司解決了很多核能利用的障礙,提供了一個更安全、可再生的、更可靠的技術。
  
  記者
您一直在全世界致力于推廣行波堆,請您談談行波堆對未來核能技術以及全球能源經濟的預期影響。
  
  
  蓋茨先生:因為意識到對于一種安全、可再生、可靠的核能技術的需要,我們在2006年創立了泰拉能源,即使今天的核電站設計已經被證明是非常安全的,我們仍希望能夠讓它更加安全。為了使所有國家都能夠利用核能,我們也希望可以解決核能長期以來成本較高、鈾燃料難以獲得,以及對于核武器擴散的擔憂等問題。
  
  我們還希望解決如何處理已使用過的核燃料的問題。為了實現我們所有的目標,我們評估了所有已在理論上被研究和討論過的核反應堆類型。然后,我們選擇了行波堆,并創立了泰拉能源來發展這項技術。
  
  在過去的幾年中,我們在推動行波堆的設計和工程方面,已經取得了極大進展,超越了傳統的研發階段。我們已采納了從以前的參考電站汲取的經驗教訓。我們通過最先進的分析和工程工具,將研究和電站操作經驗結合起來,并利用了來自世界各地領先專家和機構通過共同努力形成的成果。我們已完成核心的概念設計,并進展到工程設計階段。
  
  我們也已經開始了許多關鍵材料和燃料的測試項目,以進一步增強對這一技術的信心。我們希望,通過與合適的合作伙伴合作,我們可以快速進入到工程的詳細設計階段。此外,我們希望,通過結合合作伙伴和我們的優勢,在2023年前成功建造行波反應堆的示范堆。
  
  除了第四代反應堆設計中固有的安全性能提升,行波堆技術還能夠利用貧鈾并簡化燃料循環過程。它可以大幅減少核廢料,使乏燃料處置問題變得更簡單。最終,它甚至可以使用已經使用過的輕水反應堆燃料,將其作為燃料來源,進而降低需要儲存的乏燃料的量。
  
  鑒于所有這些原因,行波堆將會提高未來核電的經濟競爭力,我相信這是一個有突破性的進展。通過我們與合作伙伴的通力合作,我們將實現向全世界提供安全、經濟、環保和可持續的核能的目標。
  
  記者
從世界經濟可持續發展以及改善人類居住環境和大氣環境角度來看,發展核能是科學理性的選擇。但對于核能的發展一直有不同的聲音,您如何看待這些聲音?您對核能安全以及后處理等問題怎么看?
  
  
  蓋茨先生:我們認識到,關于核能技術有一系列的擔憂,主要是圍繞安全、核廢物和核武器擴散問題。我們剛剛度過福島核事故的兩周年紀念日,北朝鮮現在又成為世界擔心核武器擴散的新聞焦點,我們需要以負責任的態度,合理地解決這些問題。
  
  泰拉能源的目標是開發一種更高標準的新技術,以減輕對于安全問題和核武器擴散的擔憂。核能現在已經是非常非常安全的,但是我們相信泰拉公司提出的這種設計方案能使得核能更加安全。它依賴于自然的物理定律,能夠緩解類似于福島核事故那樣的嚴重后果。它可以有效地使用廉價的燃料。它減少了對于鈾濃縮和乏燃料處理的需要,并簡化了燃料循環。這些特點使得將鈾轉化為可用于核武器的材料變得尤其困難。我們把所有的這些視為行波堆的優點,并因之得到很多人的認同而深受鼓舞。
  
  記者
據悉您此次參加博鰲論壇,與中國國家主席習近平進行了會面。是否可以給我們透露一下會面時您談及的話題?對于中國的核能發展,您如何評價?在選擇核能發展及第四代核電技術開發的國際合作伙伴方面,您有什么想法?
  
  
  蓋茨先生:我很榮幸能夠在博鰲同習主席見面,我們討論了中國提高世界各國貧窮人口福祉的機會。在短短的幾十年間,中國幫助6億人擺脫貧困的記錄為造福其他許多國家,特別是非洲提供了豐富的經驗。
  
  就中國的核能發展而言,在全世界核能領域新建電站中,中國占據了40%的領先地位。我相信中國的核電項目將成為其它國家負責任地發展核電的一個榜樣。中國核電項目的規模以及其所擁有的技術人才,將使其成為領先的核能技術創新者和核電站的建造者。
  
  泰拉能源的領導者與中國資深的能源專家有良好的互動。泰拉能源目前仍在與開發行波堆的合適的合作伙伴深入交流。但我們非常欽佩中國對推進核能發展所做出的貢獻。對于泰拉能源行波堆技術的最先實驗和部署,我們正在尋求對于電力負荷有著極大需求,并且渴望在先進的快堆方面能夠積極推進的合作伙伴。
  
  記者
發展核能,是您對未來50年許下的愿望,福島核事故是否延緩了您的預期?您的計劃有沒有做出相應的調整?您認為未來20年核能發展的關鍵在哪里?
  
  
  蓋茨先生:福島核事故有很多重要的經驗教訓值得整個行業銘記在心。福島事故突顯了對于像泰拉能源能夠提供的新技術的需要。事故發生后,我們暫停下來仔細確認能夠抵御地震和洪水等相關災難的行波堆的設計細節。我們認真研究行波堆的安全特性,并且我們對行波堆提供更加先進的反應堆安全設計方案非常有信心。
  
  泰拉能源公司設計的內在安全系統不依賴于廠外電或水,這些系統能夠更好地抵御任何一種自然災害。
  
  未來20年核能發展的關鍵,是形成一個簡單的燃料循環從而從根本上改變我們目前的核能生產方式。我們需要開發可以讓我們的人民確認核能安全性的一個新安全系統,需要開發技術解決方案,以減少或消除可能導致核武器擴散的區域。出于對如何處理和儲存核廢料的擔憂,我們需要尋找新的方法以減少核廢料的產生,并開發出更好的貯存和處置核廢料的方式。在未來的20年,所有這一切都是非常可行和有必要的,我們相信泰拉能源的設計可以解決這些問題,并可在未來十年付諸實踐。
  
  記者
您對中國核工業的發展有怎樣的期待?請用兩句話概括一下。
  
  
  蓋茨先生:隨著能源需求的增長,傳統能源的生產方式,比如煤炭、天然氣等已經不能滿足逐漸升級的不對我們的地球排放更多二氧化碳的需求。鑒于核電發展的規模和承諾,中國將在下個世紀成為全球能源發展的重要市場。我相信,以致力于核能科學研究和創新技術發展的決心,中國必將成為世界核能的領導者。事實上,中國已經在這條路上取得了進展。?? (楊金鳳)


  (特別鳴謝:泰拉能源公司高級副總裁兼中國首席代表王定南、中核集團核動力事業部副主任章慶華為本次專訪所付出的努力)

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    蓋茨先生回復《中國核工業》雜志的書面采訪函(原稿)
  
  
Q(Question)As the worlds top IT expert, you succeeded in the software industry of Windows platform. Now you are busy in charity work. You always said that you have three wishes during your lifetime. The third is to make clean, economic electric energy available to the human race. To realize it, you lay your hope in nuclear energy. When did you have interest in nuclear energy, and why?
  
A(Answer): As part of a speech I gave at Ted threeyears ago, I said I had a very deep-seated wish that would allow the world to produce carbon-free energy cheaper than coal.
  
I
m interested in energy for two reasons. First, because as China has seen, access to energy is crucial for lifting people out of poverty. It improves education, health care, transportation, and many other aspects of development.? And second, because subsistence farmers in the poorest parts of the world will face potentially devastating consequences from climate change though they did essentially nothing to contribute to the problem. The world faces an inescapable imperative to reduce carbon emissions.
  
We need new sources of sustainable, scalable, low-carbon energy. Inventing such a source and making it available to the world will help us stop warming our planet and, at the same time will be a powerful force to eradicate poverty and improve global living standards.
  
Throughout my whole career, I
ve been a believer in the power of innovation, so Ive invested in a number of new energy companies that are pursuing this dream. One that I am particularly excited about is TerraPower, a nuclear power company that Im quite involved with and where I serve as Chairman. It has an innovative design and vastly improved safety features that make it a very exciting approach to providing safe, clean power at scale.
  
Q: How do you think the role of nuclear energy played in contemporary energy development? What
s your view on further development of nuclear power?
  
A: Nuclear power has played an important role in energy development and can play an even more decisive role moving forward in a carbon-constrained world. Compared to other sources like coal, its overall safety record is notable. But concerns about the safety of nuclear energy and the waste it creates must be addressed, particularly after Fukushima.
  
Over the past 30 years, there has been surprisingly little improvement in the available nuclear technologies despite the rapid economic development that results from access to safe, clean and cheap electricity. When you spend time in the developing world, the benefits of access to electricity are abundantly clear. Access to electricity means lights to study by, refrigeration for vaccines, sterile water and clean cooking facilities. If provided in a cheap (and clean) way, electricity has transformative power to improve the well-being of the poor.
  
Nuclear energy, when harnessed properly, responsibly and safely, can provide the immense levels of base load electricity needed for a high quality of life. Even better, it does so without negative impacts on the environment. I
m excited about TerraPowers approach because it addresses many of the barriers to the use of nuclear energy and provides a safer, scalable, more secure technology.
  
Q: You have been engaged in promotion of traveling wave reactor for a long time. How do you think of the expected effect that the traveling wave reactor will on the nuclear technology and the world
s energy economic in the future?
  
A: We founded TerraPower back in 2006 because we recognized the need for a safe, scalable, secure nuclear energy technology. Even though today
s nuclear plant designs have proven to be extremely safe, we wanted to make them even safer. In order for all countries to be able to have access to nuclear energy, we also wanted to address the long-term cost and availability of uranium fuel, as well as weapons proliferation concerns.
  
We also wanted to address the issue of what to do with spent fuel. To accomplish all of our objectives, we evaluated all the types of nuclear reactors that have been studied or discussed in theory. Then we selected the traveling wave reactor and founded TerraPower to develop it.
  
We
ve made great progress. During the last couple years, we have made great strides in advancing the design and engineering of the traveling wave reactor beyond the traditional research and development stage. We have adopted the lessons learned from previous reference plants. We have incorporated research and operating results, coupled them with the most advanced analytical and engineering tools, and engaged the joint efforts of leading experts and institutions from around the world. We have been able to complete the essential conceptual design and have progressed to the engineering design stage.
  
We
ve also started many key materials and fuel testing programs to further our confidence in this technology. We are hoping that, with the right partners on board, we can quickly move into the detailed engineering design. Furthermore, we hope to combine our partners'strengths with ours to successfully build the prototype traveling wave reactor plant by the year 2023.
  
In addition to the safety improvement inherent in the Generation IV reactor design, traveling wave reactor technology can use depleted uranium and simplify the fuel cycle. It produces substantially less waste, making the issue of fuel disposal less complex. Eventually, it should even be able to use spent light water reactor fuel, using it as a fuel source and further reducing the need to store spent fuel.
  
For all these reasons, it will improve the economic competitiveness of nuclear power in the future. I believe this is a breakthrough approach and that with the combined efforts of our partners, we can achieve our goal to provide safe, economic, environmentally friendly and sustainable nuclear energy to the entire world.
  
Q: We all know that nuclear energy is a scientific and rational choice for energy development considering the sustainable development of world economy and improvement of human living environment. However, there are different voices about the development of nuclear power. How do you deal with those different opinions? What do you think about the nuclear safety and the nuclear non-proliferation?
  
A: We recognize that there are a number of concerns with nuclear technology, mainly revolving around safety, waste, and weapons proliferation. We just had the second anniversary of the Fukushima disaster and, with North Korea in the news now around proliferation concerns, we need to responsibly and reasonably address these concerns.
  
TerraPower
s goal is to develop a new technology that will set an even higher standard that will address legitimate concerns over safety and weapons proliferation. Nuclear is very, very safe today, but we believe this design will make it dramatically safer. It relies on natural laws of physics to mitigate accident scenarios like the one at Fukushima. It efficiently uses an inexpensive fuel source. It reduces the need for enrichment and chemical reprocessing and simplifies the fuel cycle. These characteristics will make it much more difficult to convert uranium into materials that can be used in nuclear weapons. We view all of these as tremendously positive attributes and have been encouraged that so many others share this view.
  
Q: I heard that you have met with Chairman XI Jinping during your attending of Boao Forum. Could you reveal us a little about? topics of the meeting? What
s your comment on Chinas development of nuclear energy? What do you think of your international cooperate partner in nuclear energy and its G4 technology?
  
A: I was honored to meet with Chairman Xi in Bo'ao and we discussed the opportunity China has to improve the well being of the poor around the world. China's record of lifting 600 million people out of poverty in just a few decades provides a rich source of expertise that could benefit many other countries, particularly those in Africa.
  
Regarding China
s development of nuclear energy, it leads the nuclear sector with 40 percent of all new plants being built in the world. I believe Chinas program will become an example for other countries in scaling up nuclear power responsibly. With the scale of its program and its technical talent, it will become a leading innovator as well as constructor of nuclear power plants.
  
TerraPower
s leadership has had excellent interactions with our fellow energy experts here. It does not yet have a partner to develop the traveling wave reactor, but we certainly admire China for its commitment to advancing nuclear energy. For the initial testing and deployment of TerraPowers traveling wave reactor technology, we are seeking a partner that has a great demand for base load electricity, along with a desire to be an active innovator in advanced fast reactors.
  
Q: Developing nuclear power is your wish for the next 50 years. Did the Fukushima event make any difference to this wish? Did you make any change on your plans accordingly? In your view, what is the key to nuclear energy development over the next 20 years?
  
A: There are a number of important lessons from the Fukushima incident that the entire industry is taking to heart. It certainly underscores the need for new technologies like TerraPower
s. After the incident, we paused to carefully confirm details relevant to earthquake and flooding related to the traveling wave design. We carefully addressed safety features, and were confident that the traveling wave reactor provides great advancements in safe reactor designs.
  
TerraPower
s inherent safety systems do not rely on offsite power or water, allowing these systems to better withstand any kind of natural disaster.
  
The key to nuclear energy development over the next 20 years is a simpler fuel cycle that fundamentally changes the way we produce nuclear energy. We need to develop new safety systems to reassure citizens that nuclear energy is safe, and develop technical solutions to reduce or eliminate areas that may lead to weapons proliferation. Because of concern over treating or storing nuclear waste, we need to develop innovative ways to reduce waste creation and better ways for storage and disposal. All of this is very possible and necessary in the next 20 years and we believe that TerraPower
s design addresses these concerns and can be put into practice over the next ten years.
  
Q: What
s your expectation on Chinas development of the nuclear industry?
  
A: As the demand for energy grows, traditional forms of power production like coal or gas cannot meet these escalating needs without adding significantly to our?CO
2???load as a planet. Given the scope of its program and commitment to nuclear power, China stands out as a key market for overall energy development in the next century. I believe that China, with its commitment to scientific research and technical innovation, will become a world leader in nuclear energy. It is already well on its way.

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