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Bitcoin Miners Eye Nuclear Option

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Amid a heated debate over Bitcoin’s environmental toll, two companies say they have an answer on mitigating some of the negative effects: Nuclear energy.

Power startup Oklo Inc. said it’s partnering with Bitcoin mining and hosting firm Compass Mining to introduce advanced fission to the energy-intensive process of minting new coins. It’s an effort, the companies say, to reduce fossil-fuel emissions from Bitcoin mining and to diversify energy sources used by the miners, who compete to verify transactions in exchange for new coins.

“Bitcoin is a huge market opportunity for clean energy generation, especially looking forward for new generation systems,” said Oklo Chief Executive Officer Jacob DeWitte, who founded the company with Caroline Cochran in 2013.

Oklo, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said its advanced fission reactors will be able to start supplying clean energy sometime in the early 2020s, according to a statement Wednesday. It plans to provide Compass with at least 150 megawatts of clean power in the first phase of the 20-year partnership. Terms weren’t disclosed.

Oklo sees opportunities for its partnership with Compass to take place in the U.S., though nuclear-powered Bitcoin mining could be years away. The company is still in the process of seeking approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its variety of small reactors that could run on radioactive waste. It submitted an application in March 2020, right before the Covid pandemic shut the U.S. economy down, and the regulator accepted it for review about three months later. DeWitte said the NRC is mandated to conduct reviews within three years.

The announcement comes amid an extended debate over the impact Bitcoin mining may have on the environment. Crypto miners use vast sums of computing power and energy to verify transactions on the blockchain, or decentralized ledger that underpins the digital token. Their energy use is comparable to that of many developed countries and rivals the emissions from major fossil-fuel users and producers such as airlines and oil-services firms, according to an analysis by Bank of America Corp., though others dispute that, arguing it’s no worse than the carbon footprint of cars, power plants and factories.

Oklo is part of a wave of companies developing smaller reactors that they say would be faster and cheaper to build than conventional nuclear plants. Such reactors could be small and would generate a lot of power without harmful emissions.

And it’s not the only one to work on this. Energy Harbor Corp., a power producer, said earlier this week that it’s entered into a five-year partnership with Standard Power to provide carbon-free electricity from its nuclear fleet to Standard Power’s Bitcoin mining center in Coshocton, Ohio. That’s set to begin at the end of the year, according to a release.

Assuming it receives approval, Oklo will be looking at sites in Idaho — near Idaho Falls — as well as in Alaska, and other sites across the U.S., according to DeWitte. Internationally, the company sees opportunities in central, southern and eastern Europe as well as across the Americas, among other spots.

Oklo offers what DeWitte calls fission-as-a-service, meaning it sells power and heat in a way that will make it easier for customers to be able to buy. The new partnership with Compass is a “matching of opportunities,” he said, and helps accelerate Oklo’s deployment of its product. “We now have opportunities to basically support deploying a lot of reactors relatively quickly.”

Compass will be able to place its mining computers on or near Oklo’s sites. The two companies didn’t disclose financial details of the partnership but one arrangement might involve Oklo receiving a cut of the mined Bitcoin, said DeWitte.

What the partnership does “is open the door for some neat financing partnerships and pathways but also ways to accelerate ultimately the build-out of generating capacity,” he said. “From a clean energy technology and development perspective, I actually think Bitcoin is going to be a really powerful ally and partner for that.”


5 Comments on "Bitcoin Miners Eye Nuclear Option"

  1. Duncan Idaho on Fri, 16th Jul 2021 5:44 pm 

    Bitcoin was 6.5, and is now just over 3.
    Can you do the math?

    If Chairman Of Joint Chiefs Of Staff Can Compare Trump To Hitler, So Can We

  2. Theedrich on Wed, 21st Jul 2021 7:19 pm 

    The U.S. military top brass is now wokefied. The Secretary of Defense is now a gorilla nose (the first Afroid — whoopee!) named Lloyd James Austin III;  and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, who recently told the Democrat-controlled Congress he is all obsessed about “White rage.”  When in a press conference on Wednesday, 2021 Jul 21 he was asked about that proud assertion and similar sounding things in a recent book of his, he bobbed and weaved, claiming that the military abstained utterly from any and all politics, and that the White rage thingy was too complicated for him to discuss at a presser.

    Of course, everyone knows that the one and only reason the current SecDef has his position is because of his negritude.  And Milley has his job only because of his friends in high places, especially the POTUS whose son takes bribes for him from Beijing.  The leadership of Red China is quite pleased.

    When asked about the Afghan fiasco, the military marionettes simply spouted the official party line:  the Afghans are well supplied, we have over-the-horizon support ready, the Taliban will keep their word about being nicey-nice and, if they don’t, they will be embarrassed before the world “community.”  And similar blather.  But hey, man, we’re really tough.  We have enough nukes to cause mass extinction, and we just might do that, as we have been threatening to do ever since Hiroshima.  Yup, we’re serious.  Especially when it comes to fighting Whites who might not vote Democrat.

    If ever there was an admission of American military decline, it was at that press conference.  It just goes along, of course, with all the rest of the Marxist-Democrat benefits now in full swing:  narco-encampments polluting Democrat cities everywhere;  exploding crime rates in the same cities;  the encouragement of invasion by millions of outhouse Latinos and criminal creatures from other trash countries through the southern border;  replacement of traditional school curricula by anti-White, pro-anthropoid-ape propaganda;  and on and on.

    But the November 2020 election, they tell us, was legitimate.  You voted for the current trajectory, Whitey.

  3. FamousDrScanlon on Thu, 22nd Jul 2021 11:42 am 

    “The U.S. military top brass is now wokefied.”

    Good, I can’t wait for them to shoot you in the head & put you out of your misery.

  4. CoaCoa Puffs on Sat, 24th Jul 2021 1:58 pm 

    “But the November 2020 election, they tell us, was legitimate. You voted for the current trajectory, Whitey.”

    Sigh, if the election results don’t align with your Trumpist belief system, declare the election illegitimate no matter the dearth of evidence.

  5. Archie George on Mon, 28th Mar 2022 7:10 am 

    The mining industry is developing very interestingly of course…The miners who were forced out of China, most have moved to the US and this changes the balance of power significantly towards the US in terms of cryptocurrencies. The last news on coinstatment surprised me at all, they wrote about El Salvador mining bitcoin on volcano energy…Just 5 years ago it was hard to even imagine that, let alone implement it!

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