I deeply respect Bill Gates's commitment to philanthropy. He is obviously trying very hard to make the world a better place to live. But the man who gave us Microsoft Windows is the last person on Earth who should be developing a nuclear reactor. Just saying. I know you're jealous of that kid who built a nuclear reactor in his backyard (and that Microsoft is known for me-too products), but this takes it too far. And you don't want to end up like him anyway.
That said, his actual proposal (run by an actual nuclear physicist) makes a great deal of sense. I'm a little surprised that they're not going for thorium reactors, but hey. And yes, competition in this space among qualified participants could well be terribly useful to helping ease the country's energy problems. I'll post a link to the talk as soon as it's up... well, as soon as I notice, remember, and get around to it.