OpenAI CEO Sam Altman-backed nuke energy startup to go public

A nuclear fission technology startup, Oklo, is to merge with Sam Altman-founded SPAC to help scale the former's research and development of nuclear fission microreactors.
Christopher McFadden
Artistic rendering of potential Oklo Aurora reactor building.


A nuclear fission microreactor startup with which OpenAI founder Sam Altman is involved, Oklo, will merge with another of his ventures, AltC Acquisition Corporation. The latter is a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that was co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, who, as CNBC report, is also the chairman of Oklo’s board. This SPAC is set to close early next year and is hoped to raise as much as $500 million for the nuclear energy startup.

Future is micro-nuclear

Altman explained to CNBC that these funds could be used to scale up its research and development, potentially opening the door for developing its supply chains and pilot manufacturing facilities. The announcement came on Tuesday when Oklo, a startup that specializes in advanced nuclear fission microreactors, declared that it would be going public by merging with AltC Acquisition Corp. This is a special purpose acquisition company that was co-founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, who also serves as the chairman of Oklo's board.

Altman is widely recognized for his contributions to artificial intelligence (AI), especially after Microsoft invested billions of dollars in OpenAI. The company's ChatGPT chatbot gained significant public attention towards the end of last year. However, Altman's vision for a better future relies on simultaneously developing AI and energy technologies.

“My whole view of the world is the future can be radically better, and the two things that we really need for that are to lower the cost of energy and lower the cost of intelligence. And if we get those, we’ll be quite surprised about how different and how much better the future is,” Altman explained to CNBC.

According to Altman's vision of the future, the increased use of AI will require significant energy. In 2013, Altman came across Oklo's co-founders and invited them to join Y Combinator, a startup hub in Silicon Valley where he served as president from 2014 to 2019. Caroline Cochran and Jacob DeWitte accepted the invitation and became part of Y Combinator in 2014. Altman then led Oklo's seed round in 2015 and assumed the board's Chairman role.

Altman "all-in"

“I’m all-in on energy. I think there’s [an] urgent demand for tons and tons of cheap, safe, clean energy at scale,” Altman told CNBC. Altman strongly believes that access to energy is essential for improving the quality of life globally.

“The alternative to not having enough energy is that crazy de-growth stuff people talk about. We really don’t want that,” Altman told CNBC. “I think it’s insane and pretty immoral when people start calling for that," he added.

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