One of the offshoots of the AI explosion is the ever-increasing need for huge computer farms that are necessary to crank through the billions of data points necessary to train these tools.
All those computer farms need a whole lot of power to run them so Microsoft is exploring some unconventional methods to keep the lights on, including nuclear fission.
If it sounds like science fiction you wouldn’t be wrong, but the idea might be coming true sooner than you think.
Companies like TerraPower are exploring new ways of harnessing nuclear fission including what is called a traveling wave reactor that can create power without the need for enriched uranium.
TerraPower was formed in 2006 by none other than Bill Gates who still serves as chairman.
Earlier this year Microsoft signed a power purchasing deal with Helion, a fusion power start-up funded heavily by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.
The fact that fusion hasn’t yet been reproduced outside the lab hasn’t prevented Microsoft from seeking to buy power from the company by 2028.
And if all that sounds hypothetical, Microsoft recently posted a job for a Principle Program Manager Nuclear Technology.
The job posting states, “We’re looking for a Principal Program Manager, Nuclear Technology, who will be responsible for maturing and implementing a global Small Modular Reactor (SMR) and microreactor energy strategy.”
The appeal is obvious because nuclear power is clean and limitless and, as companies consider their carbon footprint more seriously, the reality of new fission and even fusion reactors seems less like Buck Rogers every day.