Amazon just bought a 100% nuclear-powered data center

One of the US’s largest nuclear power plants will directly power cloud service provider Amazon Web Services’ new data center.

Power provider Talen Energy sold its data center campus, Cumulus Data Assets, to Amazon Web Services for $650 million. Amazon will develop an up to 960-megawatt (MW) data center at the Salem Township site in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.

The 1,200-acre campus is directly powered by an adjacent 2.5 gigawatt (GW) nuclear power station also owned by Talen Energy.

The 1,075-acre Susquehanna Steam Electric Station is the sixth-largest nuclear power plant in the US. It’s been online since 1983 and produces 63 million kilowatt hours per day. The plant has two General Electric boiling water reactors within a Mark II containment building that are licensed through 2042 and 2044.

According to Talen Energy’s investor presentation, it will supply fixed-price nuclear power to Amazon’s new data center as it’s built. Amazon has minimum contractual power commitments that ramp up in 120 MW increments over several years. The cloud service giant has a one-time option to cap commitments at 480 MW and two 10-year extension options tied to nuclear license renewals.

Electrek’s Take

Nuclear isn’t everyone’s favorite source of net zero power, but this purchase makes so much sense for Amazon Web Services. There’s an enormous demand for what Amazon Web services provide, which takes energy.

Susquehanna Steam Electric Station is already online, and the data center campus is turnkey. Amazon moves in; it powers up on 100% clean energy.

Talen Energy formed Cumulus Data Assets in 2020 for precisely this reason – to converge “digital infrastructure and clean power.” Looks like that idea really paid off.

Read more: Should the US convert coal plant sites to nuclear? The DOE seems to think so


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