US Government wants tech companies to go nuclear to meet the power demands of AI data centers

With billions being spent on AI data centers there's a growing concern with the energy requirements. So much so, the nuclear option is on the table.

2 minutes & 12 seconds read time

The AI boom is in full swing, with Microsoft and OpenAI teaming up to build a $100 billion AI supercomputer, Amazon planning to spend $150 billion on data centers, and Meta planning to install 50,000 NVIDIA H100 GPUs by the end of 2024. These are mind-boggling projects, and with powerful GPU hardware at the heart of them, you can be sure that the power bills will be astronomical.

Governments and big tech are aware of the "AI power issue" and are looking at nuclear energy as a potential solution. US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm spoke with Axiom to confirm that it plans to accelerate discussions with companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon to host "small nuclear plants" next to their massive data centers.

"AI itself isn't a problem because AI could help solve the problem," Granholm said, nodding toward the AI boom as a good thing.

Nuclear power for data centers is not an outlandish idea. Last year, we reported on Microsoft hiring a Principal Program Manager of Nuclear Technology to implement a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) and microreactor energy strategy.

Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology involves compact and transportable plug-and-play reactors; however, these reactors could still be years away from real-world applications. "How do you bring down that cost so that utilities are willing to take on the risk of SMRs?" Jennifer Granholm said.

Building nuclear reactors next to every significant AI data center might sound reactionary. However, nuclear energy is currently the only "clean" energy that can provide the power required by modern AI data centers.

Nuclear energy accounts for 20% of U.S. power generation; however, this figure could rise dramatically in the coming years thanks to AI computing and data centers.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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