For those of us that follow the Bitcoin mining movement, it’s been fascinating to watch the recent innovation in the sector. We recently discussed a Dallas-based hemp processing facility that bought a Costa Rican energy company and is now mining Bitcoin using their hydroelectric dam. A few companies in El Salvador are looking into mining Bitcoin using geothermal energy from nearby volcanoes. And now, Bitcoin is going nuclear.
For some, nuclear power evokes strong reactions. Some people might remember the tragedies in Chernobyl or Fukushima and say nuclear energy is dangerous. In those instances, they would have valid points. But every source of energy has a cost. For example, cobalt is a key component used in lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles, and it is mined in horrific conditions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (a topic for another article). The point is that no source of energy is 100% safe, clean, and free from exploitation.
There are strong arguments to be made for nuclear energy; it has an extremely low carbon footprint, it’s reliable, cheap, and produces a vast amount of energy. So it’s no surprise that America’s first nuclear-powered Bitcoin mining facility recently opened in Pennsylvania…it was just a matter of time.
A clean energy company called Cumulus, which is a subsidiary of another clean energy firm called Talen energy, has completed the powered shell of its Data Center 1 in Northeast Pennsylvania. The data center was completed in December 2022 and will receive power from a 2.5-gigawatt nuclear power station. To keep things in perspective, 1 gigawatt is enough energy to power about 750,000 homes. The data center itself will be capable of utilizing 48 megawatts of that 2.5 gigawatts. 48 megawatts is roughly enough energy to power 8,000 homes. That will be a great energy source for some beautiful ASIC miners. The data center is 300,000 square feet and is currently available for lease. Hmmm…who will be the first to rent this beast?
One of the things that nuclear energy does is solve the energy trilemma. “The energy trilemma is the rapidly increasing consumer demand for zero-carbon, low-cost, and reliable electricity. There are currently few options that fulfill all three requirements at once – and at a massive scale.” Solving the trilemma is clearly a big deal, one that cannot be overlooked.
Yes, nuclear power has a public relations problem. But we shouldn’t let outdated views of nuclear power prevent us from harnessing its clean energy output. Instead of dismissing one energy source or another, we should harness as many power sources as possible: natural gas, coal, fossil fuels, hydroelectric, solar, wind, geothermal, and nuclear. Combining as many sources as possible will give the world access to more reliable and powerful energy.
It’s exciting to see Bitcoin and nuclear energy converging because they could provide a reliable and clean source of energy that is cost-effective to mine. With the new data center from Cumulus, American Bitcoin miners will have access to a new power source with great potential for both profits and sustainability. This development could be the beginning of a new era for Bitcoin mining – one that is powered by clean, renewable energy sources.
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