Two US companies seek to use nuclear for bitcoin mining

21 July 2021

US-based Oklo on 14 July announced a 20-year commercial partnership with Compass Mining, the world's first online marketplace for Bitcoin mining hardware and hosting. With increasing power consumption from bitcoin mining, the partnership between Oklo and Compass aims to introduce advanced fission to supplement fossil fuels and promote diversity and sustainability in the energy sources used by miners. Oklo’s advanced fission powerhouses will provide baseload power for Compass’s Bitcoin mining machines, starting in the early 2020s. Oklo is committed to supplying at least 150 MWe to Compass in the first phase of this partnership, helping drive the sustainability of Bitcoin mining practices.

“We are proud to blaze new trails on the commercialisation of our powerhouses by partnering with Compass in decarbonising Bitcoin,” said Oklo co-founder and CEO Jacob DeWitte. Oklo is the first advanced fission company to have its licence to construct and operate a power plant accepted for review by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Oklo Power plans to build and operate its 1.5 MW Aurora reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory site in Idaho.

The proposed Aurora design uses heat pipes to transport heat from the reactor core to a supercritical carbon-dioxide power conversion system to generate electricity, NRC said.

“Cryptocurrency mining offers promising pathways to accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies, and Oklo is positioned to respond to commercial demands by offering end-users the convenience of buying clean, reliable, and cost-effective power that they can depend on,” added DeWitte. Oklo’s path to deployment strives to optimise its power plant designs to be cost-competitive with the cheapest forms of energy.

Oklo’s advanced fission reactor can produce power for up to 20 years without the need to refuel and has the capability to turn nuclear waste into clean energy. This commercial project is scalable, and Oklo said it can add additional capacity to accelerate Compass’s sustainable mining efforts further while driving the economics of Bitcoin mining activities powered by advanced fission.

“Compass is thrilled to partner with a cutting-edge team like Oklo. Together we can push the Bitcoin mining industry forward into a new phase of cheap and reliable power from advanced fission. Every bitcoin miner understands the need for cheap, reliable power. Our team and clients are excited to partner with Oklo and redefine the energy landscape for cryptocurrency mining,” said Whit Gibbs, co-founder and CEO of Compass.

Earlier, US power company Talen Energy said it is planning to develop a nuclear-powered cryptomining facility and data centre adjacent to its nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania. The company is looking to develop the Susquehanna Hyperscale Campus (SHC) in Berwick, on undeveloped land next to Talen Energy’s Nuclear-powered Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (SSES) in Salem Township, Luzerne County.

Talen said on 12 July that the first phase of development will have 164 MW of capacity, but when complete will have 300 MW of on-site power supported by dual 1+ GW nuclear units and two independent substations, with further potential to expand to 1 GW capacity in the future if needed. The project is due to come online in Q2 2022.

Talen Energy formed Cumulus Data in 2020 to ‘invest in opportunities created by the convergence of digital infrastructure and power’. A spokesperson for Talen said Cumulus is a subsidiary of Talen Energy and has two separate businesses; Cumulus Data, focused on hyperscale; and Cumulus Coin, focused on digital currency mining.

The 2,494 MWe Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, commissioned in 1983, the is one of the largest NPPs in the USA. Its current owner, Talen Energy, was founded in 2015 after the competitive power generation business of PPL Corporation was spun off and combined with competitive generation businesses owned by private equity firm Riverstone Holdings. Talen operates more than 15,320 MWe of power generation across mostly coal and gas plants in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Montana.

Privacy Policy
We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.