Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

TerraPower, a nuclear-energy company founded by Bill Gates, is unlikely to follow through on building a demonstration reactor in China, due largely to the Trump administration’s crackdown on the country.

Why it matters: This is a blow to America's attempts to commercialize advanced, smaller scale nuclear technology and, separately, further evidence of soured relations between the U.S. and China under President Trump.

Driving the news: In a year-end blog post covering various topics published Saturday night, Gates said of TerraPower: “We had hoped to build a pilot project in China, but recent policy changes here in the U.S. have made that unlikely.”

Details: The Trump administration, led by the Energy Department, announced in October that it was implementing measures to “prevent China’s illegal diversion of U.S. civil nuclear technology for military or other unauthorized purposes.”

  • Those measures have made it nearly impossible for TerraPower’s project to go forward, according to multiple people familiar with the development.
  • TerraPower had pursued plans to build a pilot reactor in China because that country has two things America doesn’t — growing electricity demand and a long-term strategic energy plan — a top TerraPower executive told me last year.
  • Morning Consult and, separately, an analyst for the think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies, covered the impacts of the October policy change shortly after it occurred, with brief mentions of the likely negative impact on TerraPower.

For the record: “The Department of Energy continues to  support the development of advanced nuclear reactors in the United States by Terrapower and others. This cutting edge technology has the  ability to offer Americans a clean and resilient resource for electricity and other purposes," said Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes in an emailed statement.

  • "DOE also sees opportunities for global exports of this technology to nations who seek to develop their own civilian nuclear power programs for peaceful purposes.”

The big picture: Gates has long been bullish on combating climate change with advanced nuclear energy because the technology is carbon-free and smaller and deemed safer than existing nuclear plants. He founded TerraPower a decade ago, and next year he plans to speak out more about how America needs to “regain its leading role in nuclear power research,” he said in his blog post.

“Unfortunately, America is no longer the global leader on nuclear energy that it was 50 years ago. To regain this position, it will need to commit new funding, update regulations, and show investors that it’s serious.”
— Bill Gates

What’s next: “We may be able to build it [the reactor] in the United States if the funding and regulatory changes that I mentioned earlier happen,” Gates said in his post, although he didn’t specify which funding or regulations.

  • Meanwhile, the Energy Department just announced it plans to buy some of the power from new advanced reactors being pursued by NuScale, another advanced nuclear company, for here in the United States.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Chicago releases video of fatal police shooting of 13-year-old boy

A small memorial is seen on April 15 in Chicago where 13-year-old Adam Toledo was shot and killed by a police officer in March. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images

Chicago's independent police review board on Thursday released the body camera footage of an officer's fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo on March 29.

The big picture: Tension continues to rise nationwide in response to police misconduct and racism. Thursday's footage release comes days after officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright in a traffic stop near Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, is ongoing.

3 hours ago - Podcasts

State AG candidate Jen Jordan talks Georgia's time under the microscope

Georgia has become the center of American politics, in an era wherein state issues and officials have taken on elevated national prominence.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Georgia state Sen. Jen Jorden, a Democrat running for attorney general, about her state's time in the national spotlight, if she'd defend the voting law as AG and if Will Smith should have pulled his movie production from her state.

Migrants cite Mexican law as incentive for heading north

Monitored by a caretaker, young unaccompanied immigrants, ages 3-9, in a playpen at a Homeland Security holding facility in Donna, Texas, last month. Photo: Dario Lopez-Mills - Pool/Getty Images

A Mexican law against the detention of minors who are headed to the U.S. border may unintentionally be encouraging more attempts by children to cross over.

The state of play: Teenagers from Honduras told Reuters they decided to cross to the U.S. through Mexico because of the law, which gives them temporary protection from deportation, as they felt safer making the attempt.