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Nuclear industry strains to meet demands of power-hungry data

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on Financial Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: As data centers' demand for electricity skyrockets, due to the rise of artificial intelligence and crypto mining, the nuclear energy sector sees an opportunity in advanced reactors to meet this challenge

🔭 The context: Small modular reactors (SMRs) and microreactors, promising quick, cost-effective scalability and 24/7 power regardless of weather, stand out against traditional energy sources for their lack of CO2 emissions and reliability

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: These nuclear technologies offer a sustainable energy solution for the rapidly expanding digital infrastructure, potentially reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and mitigating carbon emissions in the tech industry

⏭️ What's next: Although the adoption of SMRs for data centers presents a futuristic solution, their commercial viability is years away, with immediate energy needs being met through existing nuclear power sources
• The integration of nuclear energy into the data center sector signals a significant shift in tackling its surging power demand sustainably

💬 One quote: “These CPU [central processing unit] centres have enormous demands on electricity. And, for many applications, they want to be always on — an outage is a catastrophic loss of money . . . where nuclear comes in is it provides [dependable] baseload supply,” says Michael Bluck, head of the Centre for Nuclear Engineering at Imperial College in London

📈 One stat: Global power demand from data centers is expected to surpass 1,000 terawatt hours by 2026, more than double the 2022 levels

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