AI turning nuclear power plants into prime DC real-estate

Key Points:

  • Nuclear power plants becoming desirable for datacenter location due to energy needs
  • Nuclear power considered carbon-free and reliable for datacenter operations
  • Companies like NE Edge and AWS exploring datacenter projects near nuclear power plants


In the evolving landscape of datacenters, a surprising trend is emerging – the potential partnership between technology’s energy appetite and nuclear power. This unexpected alliance is gaining momentum as firms seek cost-efficient solutions for power-demanding AI workloads while also showcasing commitment to green practices.


One notable player in this trend is startup NE Edge, aiming to establish two massive artificial intelligence datacenters near a 2 gigawatt Millstone nuclear plant in Connecticut. The ambitious project has secured substantial funding exceeding $1.6 billion for construction, with plans for an extensive facility covering 1.2 million square feet and equipped with up to 35,000 servers, likely GPU-focused.


Despite the promising outlook, NE Energy is facing local resistance due to concerns about potential electricity cost spikes and strain on the plant’s output. To mitigate these worries, NE Energy’s president, Thomas Quinn, assures that direct connectivity to the plant enables negotiations for sustainable pricing. Recognizing community concerns, NE Energy pledges a significant financial commitment, including additional payments to the town over three decades.


While NE Energy navigates approval challenges, industry giants like Amazon Web Services are already making strategic moves in the nuclear datacenter sphere. AWS has inked a deal to acquire Cumulus Data’s atomic datacenters near Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna nuclear plant, demonstrating a growing interest among tech leaders in nuclear-powered solutions.


Moreover, Microsoft is actively exploring small modular reactors as a potential energy source for datacenters, envisioning a decentralized approach to power infrastructure. Although operational SMRs are still in the development phase, companies like Standard Power, Green Energy Partners, and Bahnhof are also exploring similar initiatives, paving the way for innovative energy solutions in the datacenter realm.



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