Oklo nuclear startup goes public under Sam Altman’s leadership to drive AI advancements

Oklo, a company specializing in advanced nuclear fission technology, made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday, with Sam Altman serving as chairman. The company, which has not yet generated any revenue, went public through a special purpose acquisition company called AltC Acquisition Corp., founded and led by Altman. Shares in Oklo, trading under the ticker symbol “OKLO,” were valued at just over $15 on Friday morning, with the company expected to receive more than $306 million in gross proceeds upon closing the transaction.

Oklo’s business model centers around commercializing nuclear fission, with a focus on utilizing mini nuclear reactors housed in A-frame structures instead of conventional reactors. The company aims to sell the energy produced to end users such as the U.S. Air Force and major tech companies. Currently, Oklo is in the process of building its first small-scale reactor in Idaho, which could potentially power data centers for companies like OpenAI and other artificial intelligence firms.

Altman, who is also the co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, believes that nuclear energy is a crucial solution to meeting the growing demand for AI technology without relying on fossil fuels. He, along with other tech giants like Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, has invested in nuclear energy projects in recent years. Altman has emphasized the importance of nuclear energy in addressing energy needs for AI technology, stating that it is the most feasible and effective solution.

Oklo CEO Jacob DeWitte confirmed in an interview with CNBC that the company has not yet generated revenue and does not have any nuclear plants in operation at the moment. However, the company is targeting 2027 for its first plant to become operational. DeWitte acknowledged the risks associated with going public through a SPAC, especially considering the turbulent market conditions in recent years.

Despite facing regulatory setbacks, such as a denied application for an Idaho reactor in 2022, Oklo remains focused on its goal of commercializing nuclear fission technology. Altman’s involvement with Oklo dates back to his time as president of Y Combinator, where he became an investor and chairman of the company in 2015.

In addition to his work with Oklo, Altman has also been actively involved in other energy-related ventures, such as leading a $500 million funding round in clean energy firm Helion, which is working on nuclear fusion technology. Altman’s broader investments in chip technology and AI infrastructure align with his vision of supporting the growth of AI technology through sustainable energy solutions.

Overall, Oklo’s entry into the stock market represents a significant milestone for the company and highlights the growing interest in nuclear energy as a sustainable solution for meeting the energy demands of AI technology. Despite the challenges and uncertainties associated with the market, Oklo remains optimistic about the potential for nuclear energy to drive innovation and support the growth of AI technology in the future.

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