When you think about it, bitcoin and nuclear power may be a match made in heaven. Bitcoin is currently under fire for not being environmentally friendly and nuclear power appears to finally – with the help of Sprott cornering the uranium market – be on the verge of being recognized as a true ESG solution in energy.
Now, the synergies are starting to surface. Talen Energy Corp. has just entered into a joint venture with bitcoin mining company TeraWulf that has started development for a mining facility on a plot of land the size of four football fields next to Talen’s nuclear plant, the Wall Street Journal reported this weekend.
Paul Prager, chief executive of TeraWulf said: “At the core of bitcoin mining is energy and energy infrastructure.”
Talen Energy President Alex Hernandez said: “We are building demand adjacent to the existing nuclear plant.”
Other nuclear projects, like Startup Oklo, who is planning on building a small fission power plant, have signed supply deals as well. Startup Oklo Inc. has signed a 20 year deal with Compass Mining, for example.
Sean Lawrie, partner at consulting firm ScottMadden Inc., said of the synergies: “Both industry’s challenges are the other industry’s positives.”
While Bitcoin’s environmental impact has been challenged, even by advocates like Elon Musk, nuclear power has also fallen out of favor over the last decade, following the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Travis Miller, energy and utilities strategist for Morningstar, told the WSJ of nuclear plants: “They’re still making money because they’re still running, but it’s very hard for them in the current power markets to recover a fair return on their maintenance investments.”
Hernandez continued, speaking about Talen: “We find ourselves in a place where the power markets continue to be oversupplied, and in general with a few exceptions, pretty weak.”
For the time being, nuclear tie ups with crypto miners won’t stave off planned nuclear plant closures, according to Bill Dugan, a director at Customized Energy Solutions.
“It would have to be a lot of them aggregated together,” he said.
The appeal of such JVs for bitcoin miners is immense, however. It allows miners to advertise that they have an environmentally sound source of power.
Maxim Serezhin, chief executive at Standard Power, which is building a nuclear-powered bitcoin-mining facility, told the WSJ about deciding to use nuclear as an environmentally friendly option: “That was a big differentiator for us.”
Finally, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has been touting Miami as a destination for crypto miners. He says that the nearby nuclear-power plant owned by Florida Power & Light Co. gives his city environmentally friendly appeal for miners.
Recall, we have constantly pointed out here on Zero Hedge that nuclear remains one of the only true ESG options for power going forward, and we have long been bullish on uranium. A coupling between crypto mining and nuclear could obviously be incredibly bullish for uranium, should crypto reach peak adoption.