Welcome to the Era of the Nuclear-Powered Data Center

As the data center industry evolves, so does the need for sustainable energy solutions. Bill Kleyman singles out nuclear power as a potential game-changer that's gaining favor.

Bill Kleyman, Executive Vice President of Digital Solutions, Switch; Writer/Speaker

May 20, 2024

1 Min Read
Nuclear power, nuclear reaction or nuclear energy, generating heat in a concept image of a nuclear atomic model.
Kiyoshi Takahase Segundo via Alamy Stock

I have been looking forward to writing this article. Over the past few years, the discussion around energy consumption in the data center industry has continued to increase. However, over the past year, there has been a substantial shift in technology, which has increased the urgency in the conversation around renewable and clean energy

Let’s start with the thesis statement: The pace of our technological evolution is quickly becoming unsustainable.

Consider this statistic from research firm Omdia. In the second quarter of 2023, Omdia estimated that Nvidia shipped over 900 tons (1.8 million pounds) of H100 compute GPUs for artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) use cases. You read that right -- we’re now measuring GPU shipments by weight rather than by units sold. Anecdotally, at a recent conference, Chris Crosby, CEO of Compass Data Centers, did some back-of-the-napkin math on this. If you bring all these GPUs online at once, it would consume over 30 GW of power.

How do we accommodate this much energy use? At this very moment, which market can come back and say we have this much clean energy to provide for AI use cases? During a recent conversation, utility providers said they would have to bring up coal-powered energy plants to support these new use cases. This is a little bit ridiculous, where we must leverage fossil fuels to power some of the most advanced technologies in the world.

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About the Author(s)

Bill Kleyman

Executive Vice President of Digital Solutions, Switch; Writer/Speaker


Bill Kleyman brings more than 15 years of experience to his role as Executive Vice President of Digital Solutions at Switch. Using the latest innovations, such as AI, machine learning, data center design, DevOps, cloud and advanced technologies, he delivers solutions to customers that help them achieve their business goals and remain competitive in their market. He was ranked #16 globally in the Onalytica study that reviewed the top 100 most influential individuals in the cloud landscape; and #4 in another Onalytica study that reviewed the industry's top Data Security Experts.


He enjoys writing, blogging and educating colleagues about everything related to technology. His published and referenced work can be found on WindowsITPro, Data Center Knowledge, InformationWeek, NetworkComputing, AFCOM, TechTarget, DarkReading, Forbes, CBS Interactive, Slashdot and more.


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