July 14, 2021 | 4:25 pm
In the midst of the debate on the environmental impact of the high energy consumption required by the mining of bitcoin two companies propose to resort to nuclear energy.
Energy company Oklo announced a collaboration with bitcoin mining and hosting company Compass Mining to introduce advanced fission into the process of minting new cryptocurrencies, according to Bloomberg.
In this way, the companies seek to reduce fossil fuel emissions from Bitcoin mining and diversify the energy sources used by miners, who compete to verify transactions in exchange for new currencies.
“Bitcoin is a great market opportunity for clean energy generation, especially in search of next-generation systems,” Oklo CEO Jacob DeWitte told the outlet.
The U.S. company said its advanced fission reactors will be able to start supplying clean power sometime earlier this decade.
He added that he plans to provide Compass with at least 150 megawatts of clean energy in the first phase of a 20-year partnership whose terms were not disclosed.
Although Oklo sees opportunities to carry out the partnership in the United States, it could take years for bitcoin mining to become a reality.
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.
Energy consumption in bitcoin mining activities is the subject of intense debate, an analysis by Bank of America points out that its energy use is comparable to that of many developed countries and rivals the emissions of major users and producers of fossil fuels, others argue that it is no worse than the carbon footprint of cars , power stations and factories.
In May, Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined the debate by retracting accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment at the auto firm citing environmental concerns.
Oklo is part of a wave of companies developing smaller reactors that they say are faster to build and capable of generating a lot of power without harmful emissions.
Recently Energy Harbor, an energy producer, said in a statement that earlier this week it signed 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 will start at the end of the year.