Microsoft is interested in modular reactors, but why?

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Microsoft hired Archana “Archie” Manoharan as the Director of Nuclear Technologies to explore small-scale atomic reactors as an alternative energy source for its data centers. She formerly worked as the Director of Nuclear Strategy & Programs at Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), where she developed Micro Modular Reactor (MMR) technologies for over 15 years.

Microsoft‘s latest appointment follows the recent addition of Erin Henderson as the Director of Nuclear Development Acceleration, highlighting the company’s dedication to advancing nuclear technologies.

Microsoft is interested in small modular and micromodular reactors due to their compact size, modularity, and potential for prefabrication. They are a cost-effective option compared to traditional large-scale fission reactors and align with Microsoft’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and addressing the energy demands of data centers, especially for AI processing.

Microsoft is transitioning towards sustainable and carbon-neutral energy sources and is recruiting senior staff for key positions related to nuclear technology. However, deploying small modular reactors for data center power is anticipated to be a long-term project with the most optimistic timeline for deployment in the United States around 2030.

Microsoft has also signed a power purchase agreement with Helion Energy to develop the world’s first nuclear fusion power plant by 2028. However, skeptics worry about the feasibility of introducing unproven technologies to the nuclear energy sector.

More at The Register.

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