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July-September 2022

Weighing up the nuclear option for powering datacentres

In the political thriller Occupied, Norway declares a halt to oil and gas in favour of thorium-fuelled nuclear energy, alarming countries from the European Union (EU) to Russia. This isn’t so far-fetched: nuclear could help slash emissions in the datacentre and beyond, according to Daniel Bizo, research director at Uptime Institute. “Nuclear power offers low-carbon dispatchable generation, which can complement renewable energy in displacing fossil fuels, as well as providing stability as the share of intermittent generation like wind or solar grows,” he tells Computer Weekly. “The backdrop to this is that we are not on track with global greenhouse gas emissions reductions to meet 2030 goals, which makes it likely that longer-term goals for 2050 will also be missed by a wide margin.” Bizo points out that the rising use of renewables is making for mismatched supply and demand, especially as total demand grows. Another factor is the increasing electrification of industries and transport, which is also important for cutting ...

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