Nuclear-Powered Data Centers on the Horizon

Chris Sharp at Digital Realty knows data centers well. With AI growing, they need more power.

By Sunil Sonkar 2 Min Read
2 Min Read
Nuclear-Powered Data Centers on the Horizon

Chris Sharp, the technology chief at Digital Realty, knows a thing or two about data centers – those big buildings full of computers that keep our online world running smoothly. And with artificial intelligence (AI) on the rise, these big data centers now need more power than ever.

Recently, Digital Realty built a massive new data center in Portland, Oregon, specifically for AI. But here is the kicker. It needs 80 megawatts of power compared to the usual 32 megawatts for a regular data center as AI systems consume a ton of data and requires lots of electricity to process it all.

But there is a problem to it. Getting all this extra power from the grid is not easy. It means competing with homes and other industries. It could lead to blackouts.

Advertisement

So, what is the solution thereafter? According to Sharp, the solution is nuclear power. He predicts data centers will come with their own built-in nuclear reactors in the future.

SMRs, or Small Modular Reactors, are smaller and better at making energy compared to big nuclear plants. Even though these are not common yet, many tech companies including Oklo are showing interest.

Oklo, for example, has a design for SMRs that they say can be built quickly and safely. They think nuclear power is the best way to give enough energy to AI data centers that need a lot.

But not everyone agrees. Some experts are concerned about the cost as well as the safety of SMRs. Others think renewable energy sources are better options.

Regardless of the debate, one thing is clear: the future of data centers could be nuclear-powered. And with AI continuing to grow, it might be sooner than we think.

Share This Article