February 3, 2023

Due to the booming crypto market Bitcoin (BTC) mining has gone mainstream. The first nuclear-powered data center in the United States offering Bitcoin mining services is set to open in Pennsylvania.

According to World Nuclear News, zero-carbon data center builder Cumulus Data, a subsidiary of independent power generator Talen Energy, has completed the powered shell of its first data center powered by a 2.5 gigawatt nuclear power plant.

A first of its kind in the United States, the 300,000-square-foot, 48-megawatt data center is directly connected to the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant in northeastern Pennsylvania and is located on a 1,200-acre complex.

Dealing with the energy trilemma.

Alex Hernandez, CEO of Cumulus Data and Talen Energy, commented on the new development:

“Our flagship Cumulus Susquehanna data center campus is poised to welcome its first tenant and began commercial operations this year. We look forward to advancing our mission to solve the energy trilemma, which we define as the rapidly increasing consumer demand for zero-carbon, low-cost, and reliable power from data center customers.”

The data center campus next to the Susquehanna power plant. Image: Linxon/World Nuclear News

In addition to this 48-megawatt powered enclosure, two more are under active development in Phase 1 of the project, with an expected total campus capacity of 475 megawatts. Cumulus Data has identified an additional 18 Talen Energy sites as potential locations for future data centers directly connected to the power plant.

The joint venture between Talen Energy and a US cryptocurrency mining startup, TeraWulf, was announced in August 2021. Since then, construction of the Nautilus Cryptomine, a zero-carbon Bitcoin mining facility, has been underway on campus.

According to TeraWulf, construction of the Bitcoin mine was temporarily halted in early December last year. It is in the early stages of expanding its mining operations and the Company is targeting to deploy 50 megawatts of net mining capacity in Q1 2023.

Eco-friendly bitcoin mining

Africa’s longest protected park, Virunga National Park has struggled to recover after years of militia conflict, deforestation and little government support. But now it’s using bitcoin mining powered by hydropower to generate the funds it needs to fund it.

To mine Bitcoin without carbon emissions, solar panels are used to convert sunlight into digital currency. An Antiminer S19 that consumes 72 kWh per day needs a solar system capable of producing 14 kWh, which is equivalent to about 35 ordinary 400 watt solar panels, to function.

Peter Egyed, also known as AZ Hodl, had an off-grid solar system installed for his bitcoin mining company in March 2022, with an expected return on investment within 36 months.

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