Toshiba and TerraPower have begun exchanging information in a move that would bring together Bill Gates' ample wealth and the knowhow and experience which the Japanese electronics giant has established in the nuclear power business
Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Japanese electronics giant Toshiba Corp are discussing the possibility of jointly developing a cheaper next-generation nuclear reactor that can operate for up to 100 years without refuelling, company officials said on Tuesday.
Toshiba will study cooperating with US venture firm TerraPower, funded by Microsoft Corp chairman Mr Gates, to jointly develop a travelling-wave reactor (TWR) that can function up to 100 years without refuelling, they said.
Mr Gates is said to be considering investing personal assets worth several hundreds of billions of yen in developing the new type of reactor.
The officials said that Toshiba and TerraPower have begun exchanging information in a move that would bring together Mr Gates' ample wealth and the knowhow and experience which the Japanese electronics giant has established in the nuclear power business, Kyodo news agency reported.
While it is likely to take more than a decade to put the next-generation reactors to practical use, the TWRs can save operating costs because they do not require refuelling and are expected to draw demand in emerging countries.
The new reactors, which consume depleted uranium as fuel, can operate from 50 to 100 years and are considered relatively safer than conventional boiling water reactors, which need periodic refuelling.
Toshiba, which acquired US-based Westinghouse Electric Co is currently developing an ultra-compact nuclear reactor, called the Super-Safe, Small and Simple, or 4S, which can operate continuously for up to 30 years.
The 4S technology is believed to be compatible with the TWRs because they have many aspects in common, according to the officials.
Mr Gates, who has recently been focusing on global warming and other climate issues, effectively owns TerraPower and proposed the collaboration with Toshiba, the report said.
In the eventuality of Sahara discontinuing the sponsorship of the Indian cricket team, BCCI may find it difficult to rope in a new patron, given the mad rush for the IPL
Having bid a staggering Rs1,700 crore (plus) for buying a team in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Sahara will review its sponsorship to the Indian cricket team, group chief Subroto Roy has said, reports PTI.
Sahara had won the sponsorship for the Indian cricket team for Rs400 crore for a four-year period ending December 2009, and had agreed to continue for six more months as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) could not find any sponsors.
In the eventuality of Sahara discontinuing the sponsorship, BCCI may find it difficult to rope in a new patron given the mad rush for the IPL.
"No, it will not. Only thing we will see is our continuation of sponsorship to the Indian cricket team. We will sit on that and we will discuss on that. But on all other sports, nothing will be affected," Mr Roy told PTI on the impact of the group's aggressive bidding to acquire the Pune team of the IPL.
Asserting that the group, which is also sponsoring the hockey team, would seriously consider (limiting) exposure to the BCCI and women's cricket, he said, "We will take a conscious decision about it."
On financing the 10-year-bid, he said that there were various options and many Indian companies and British clubs have evinced interest in becoming Sahara’s partners, adding that going public through an initial public offer in a year or two was also a possibility.
"We are paying every year in advance to acquire a property. So if you are paying advance, it is not a profit or loss account factor. So we can go even for an initial public offering (IPO) in a year or two years," Mr Roy said.
"There are approaches from not only Indian companies, but within 24 hours we got proposals from some very big club in the UK. They want to join hands with us. There are many kinds of opportunities," he said.
Mr Roy, however, made it clear that the Sahara group would keep the majority stake and said that inclusion of a partner would depend on two factors—really good people behind the organisation and a positive and exciting financial proposal.
He said that the Pune team would not be a loss-making proposition and it would generate operating profits from year one.
Bowing to the pressure from 'authorities', the Internet search giant has 'unofficially' exited from mainland China. However, the future of its relocated services would continue to be under the Chinese radar
Internet search giant Google Inc has said that it has relocated its China-based services to Hong Kong and users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk. Google said that it is offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via its servers in Hong Kong.
Earlier in January, the search giant had accused China of cyber-attacks. Google said that like many well-known organisations, it also faces cyber-attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, Google detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on its corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google.
"However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident—albeit a significant one—was something quite different," the search engine giant had said.
Google said that as part of its investigation, it discovered that at least 20 other large companies from a wide range of businesses—including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors—have been similarly targeted.
"These attacks and the surveillance they uncovered—combined with attempts over the last year to further limit free speech on the Web in China including the persistent blocking of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Docs and Blogger—had led us to conclude that we could no longer continue censoring our results on Google.cn," the search giant said in its official blog on Tuesday.
Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from Google.com.hk.
Google said that it was in talks with the Chinese authorities regarding the censorship issues.
However, the Chinese government has been clear throughout their discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement.
The new approach to provide services from Hong Kong is entirely legal, Google said. However, it also made it clear that the Chinese authorities can block access to its services any time. "We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services. We will therefore be carefully monitoring access issues, and have created this new web page, which we will update regularly each day, so that everyone can see which Google services are available in China," Google said.
The Internet search giant said that it would continue its research and development (R&D) work and also maintain a sales team in mainland China.
Safeguarding its employees from China, Google has also given a declaration which reads: "Finally, we would like to make clear that all these decisions have been driven and implemented by our executives in the United States, and that none of our employees in China can, or should, be held responsible for them."
Meanwhile, according to a PTI report, influential Chinese authors have demanded settling copyright issues, alleging that the US-based search engine scanned their books without permission.
Some most influential writers said they are still waiting Google to provide a solution to copyright disputes in which the popular Internet company scanned books without the authors' permission, official China Daily reported today.
According to a list by Google at the end of 2009, its online library includes 80,000 Chinese books, 10% of which are authored by 2,600 members of the Chinese Writers' Association (CWA). The authors alleged they were neither informed nor paid money by Google, while the copyright society said the number of scanned books could surpass 200,000.
China’s media points out that Google’s book project recently reached an agreement with the Italian culture ministry to scan one million books in the national libraries of Rome and Florence for the payment of an estimated $135 million. Chinese authors expect the search engine too will shell out heavy compensation before leaving China, PTI reports said.