Mining cryptocurrencies is an extremely power-hungry activity. To circumvent the problem of massive energy usage, some miners have turned to renewable energy to mine crypto. US power company Talen Energy has gone in the direction by creating two nuclear-powered crypto mining stations.
Nuclear-powered crypto facilities
Reported by Data Center Dynamics, via Techspot, Talen Energy plans to create two mining facilities in the United States. Both powered by nuclear plants, the new facilities will be used to mine unspecified types of crypto, likely Bitcoin.
Talen Energy has outlined plans for two nuclear-powered crypto mining stations, one in Pennsylvania and one in Ohio. The first station will house its mining facility and data center near Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Steam Electric Station.
The energy company states that the facility will have a capacity of 164MW during development. Once the dual 1GW nuclear units are fully active, the centers will reach 164MW. Talen Energy hopes to achieve 1GW capacity.
The company claims the facility “will provide low-cost, reliable, carbon-free power to the data center clients on campus. This allows clients to benefit from carbon-free, 24/7 power being supplied directly to the campus, without the intermittency that renewable energy can experience, or requiring fossil fuels.” Sure.
Crypto and nuclear... together?
Over the past few years, massive debates have raged surrounding the massive energy cost of cryptocurrencies. One study proved that just a single Bitcoin transaction takes up the same amount of energy as watching 100,000 YouTube videos.
Furthermore, the risk of nuclear-powered facilities has not gone unnoticed. Yes, large-scale accidents like Fukushima (2011) and Chernobyl (1986) are rare occurrences, but the side effects are catastrophic. That's without mentioning the reality of nuclear waste.
In a 2019 report by the BBC, UK Energy Research Centre Professor Jim Watson said:
"Most analysts now have accepted that we don't need 30% of energy from nuclear - renewables can take a substantially bigger share.”
No matter how “carbon-free” Talen Energy claims the facility will be, combining crypto and nuclear for pure profit is a horrifying venture.