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Amid energy use criticism, bitcoin looks at nuclear power

by Sangam Paudel, Oct 6
2 minutes read

Some bitcoin companies are partnering up with nuclear power companies to fuel their mining activities. Compass Mining announced a 20-year commercial partnership with micro-nuclear reactor company Oklo, whereby Oklo would power a portion of Compass’ mining operations. The move comes as bitcoin companies face increasing scrutiny over their consumption of massive amounts of electricity.

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So what?

The move offers a growing bitcoin mining industry heavily reliant on coal a means of decarbonization and a response to increasing scrutiny of their carbon intensive operations. Close partnership might also benefit innovations in the nuclear energy sector, as convention nuclear energy generators face greater competition from renewables. Oklo, for instance, is a micro-reactor system powered by nuclear waste of conventional reactors.

How similar partnerships develop depends on whether these nuclear facilities can garner support and grow. The difference in electricity cost between renewables and nuclear energy will also factor in. Spatially close nuclear and bitcoin operations, however, might provide an opportunity to lessen the grid stress of bitcoin’s increasing energy usage – thus making them desirable from an energy grid perspective. Still, it seems unlikely that the criticism of Bitcoin’s energy use will wane a lot since the energy consumption of the sector will still continue to increase.

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