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Crypto currency and nuclear power – a worrying partnership

Why Crypto Mining Needs Nuclear Power, Yahoo Finance Florent Heidet, Milos Atz (both writers employed at USA’s Dept of Enegy Argonne National Laboratory) Thu, October 14, 2021
”………Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies secured by cryptography. Unlike physical money, like dollars, cryptocurrencies are not minted by national institutions. Instead, they are created through complex algorithms that take place over computer networks. While not all crypto currencies have a specific function, the most valuable ones, such as BTC and ETH, exist primarily to carry financial transactions embedded in the blockchain – the cryptographic transaction record.

……….. The incredible rise in cryptocurrency value, associated with the ease to contribute to the cryptocurrency mining process with common computer hardware, has resulted in an ever-larger number of miners joining cryptocurrency networks. Increasing the number of miners benefits the system by further decentralizing, and therefore securing, the cryptocurrency.

……… Total power consumption used by mining across the major cryptocurrencies is tens of gigawatts electrical, or GWe, based on current network size and average mining equipment power. That is about the same as the power demand of Sweden or Montana. New generations of computing hardware are more efficient and progressively reduce power consumption per hashrate, but the high profitability of mining attracts more participants, yielding a net increase of the overall power used by the network. In fact, as long as the combined costs of electricity and hardware remain lower than the value of the generated cryptocurrency, the networks and their power consumption will continue growing and will soon surpass that of most countries.

Although cryptocurrency mining requires huge amounts of energy, the process itself is not directly polluting. The natural resource requirement is limited to what is needed to manufacture computer hardware and to generate electricity for the mining operations. Cryptocurrency mining is a 24/7 process using constant power with minimal downtime. Additionally, larger mining operations can require in excess of 100 megawatts of power for facilities with the footprint of a medium-size factory. Mining operations need a highly reliable and dense power supply.

………. To guarantee a share of carbon-free electricity, cryptocurrency mining operations may seek agreements with local grid operators or electricity generators. Some larger cryptocurrency mining operations may choose to own and operate their own electricity generation facilities.

………….The power demands of the cryptocurrency mining industry create a unique opportunity for synergizing with nuclear power. Nuclear reactors harness energy from fissioning elements such as uranium
………… Engaging with the burgeoning cryptocurrency industry is advantageous for the nuclear industry,…….. the cryptocurrency industry specifically demands the unique benefits of nuclear power, making partnerships an ideal opportunity……..  Cryptocurrency network growth will only further propel energy cost increases. 
…………. Partnerships between the crypto-mining and the nuclear industries have already started to blossom. Recent reporting has showcased agreements forged between cryptocurrency mining operations and both nuclear utilities and nuclear reactor vendors. Given the synergies between cryptocurrency energy demands and nuclear power, we hope that these industries continue to engage with each other to explore mutually beneficial opportunities for growth and collaboration.

October 14, 2021 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, politics, safety

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