- Microsoft is exploring next-generation nuclear reactors to power data centers and artificial intelligence.
- Although nuclear energy does not produce greenhouse gas emissions, when it comes to processing radioactive waste and establishing the uranium supply chain, another inextricable problem may arise.
- Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates has been a big fan of nuclear technology for a long time.
According to Microsoft’s job posting for a program manager who will lead its nuclear energy strategy, next-generation nuclear reactors are planned to power data centers and artificial intelligence targets.
Data centers already use too much electricity. In other words, if clean energy sources are not found, the company’s climate goals may be disrupted. Artificial intelligence, with its high energy needs, is a big problem that the company must overcome.
Nuclear energy does not create greenhouse gas emissions. However, when it comes to processing radioactive waste and establishing the uranium supply chain, another inextricable issue may arise. The role that nuclear energy should play in combating climate change is still hotly debated. But Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been a big fan of this technology for a long time.
New job posting Judging by the fact that Microsoft seems to be relying on advanced nuclear reactors as a solution. The job posting states that someone will be hired to “lead project initiatives focused on all aspects of nuclear energy infrastructure for global growth.”
Microsoft is specifically looking for someone who can create plans for small modular reactors (SMR). All the excitement about nuclear these days revolves around these new generation reactors. Unlike their older and much larger predecessors, these modular reactors are expected to be easier and cheaper to build. By comparison, the last major nuclear reactor to be built in the United States finally came online this summer after seven years of delay at a cost of nearly $17 billion over budget.
Still, there are some issues that need to be resolved if Microsoft wants to rely on SMRs to power the cloud and data centers where AI lives. An SMR requires more highly enriched uranium fuel, called HALEU, than today’s conventional reactors. So far, Russia has become the world’s largest supplier of HALEU. There is an effort to create a domestic uranium supply chain in the United States, which communities near uranium mines and factories are already struggling with. There is also the question of what to do with nuclear waste. Even the SMR fleet could produce significant amounts of nuclear waste. The US is still trying to figure out how to store this waste in the long term. Microsoft did not answer questions about its plans for next-generation nuclear energy or how it might deal with the challenges this technology may present.
Gates is also the founder and chairman of TerraPower, which develops SMR designs. Company, In a statement to CNBC He said he “does not currently have any agreements to sell reactors to Microsoft.” According to Axios news Microsoft has already signed an agreement to purchase clean energy credits from Canada’s Ontario Power Generation, which is on track to become the first company in North America to use SMR. A website that publishes content about data centers DCDfirst reported the job opening last week.
Microsoft also made a deal to buy electricity from a company called Helion, which is developing an even more futuristic fusion power plant. Helion’s backers include OpenAI CEO and ChatGPT developer Sam Altman. This year, Microsoft expanded its “multi-year, multibillion-dollar investment” with OpenAI. The company announced last week that it plans to add OpenAI’s DALL-E 3 renderer to Bing Chat. “We are committed to helping our customers use our platforms and tools to do more with less today and innovate for the future in the new age of artificial intelligence,” Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said in the job posting for chief program officer, nuclear technology. says.
Compiled by: Alp Eren Gümüş