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Tesla boss Musk is in favor: Can bitcoin mining really become more climate-friendly through nuclear power? | 08/27/21

• Bitcoin mining powered by nuclear power

Elon Musk sees good opportunities for this

• Many doubt the concept

Nuclear power companies and Bitcoin miners are moving closer together

The idea of ​​mining Bitcoin powered by nuclear power seems to be taking shape. As CNBC learned from Alex Gilbert, a project manager at the Nuclear Innovation Alliance think tank, there has been an increasing number of announcements from nuclear power companies and Bitcoin miners to cooperate in the future.

In June, for example, the micronuclear reactor company Oklo and the mining company Compass Mining announced a 20-year partnership in which Oklo will drive part of Compass Mining’s mining activities with nuclear energy. In early July, Ohio’s Energy Harbor Corp announced that it would supply Standard Power’s blockchain mining center with energy from early December 2021.

As Datacenter Dynamics reports, the energy supplier Talen Energy is planning the development of a nuclear-powered cryptomining system and a data center next to a nuclear power plant, which could deliver up to 300 megawatts. According to Heise, Talen Energy advertises reliable, inexpensive and emission-free energy in order to counteract the inevitable fluctuations in generation of renewable resources. An anchor customer has already been found for the cryptocurrency sector.

Elon Musk sees nuclear power as a good option for mining

Tesla stopped accepting Bitcoin as payment for its vehicles in May of this year. The reason given by CEO Elon Musk at the B-Word conference hosted by the Crypto Council for Innovation was that accepting the high energy consumption of Bitcoin mining would not be appropriate for a company that has made it its mission to bring the world into the Leading the age of renewable energies.

Musk sees nuclear power as a great option for cleaner bitcoin mining alongside hydrogen and geothermal energy.


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With regard to the operation of Bitcoin mining, Musk points out the urgent need for “baseload”, ie access to a consistent, always available energy source. According to him, mining can be operated by using batteries with a very long service life using renewable energies such as solar and wind power, but nuclear power can also represent a clean source of energy.

Skeptical voices and headwinds

However, not all see nuclear power as the key to a future of clean Bitcoin mining. Marc Bevand, a computer security expert who developed the original methodology for the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, sees the financial factor as the major obstacle, according to CNBC: According to him, nuclear power is because of the high costs involved in building large nuclear power plants , currently not a veritable option. Bevand considers increasing existing capacities for renewable energies to be much more sensible from a cost perspective. Jesse Morris, CEO of the non-profit organization Energy Web, on the other hand, refers to the time aspect. Since it would take a long time to build a nuclear reactor, this makes it unlikely that nuclear power will play a major role in reducing emissions in Bitcoin mining.

Thomas Weschle / editors

Hasan Sheikh
Hasan, who loves technology and games, is studying Computer Engineering at Delhi JNU. He has been writing technology news since 2016.


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