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Nuclear SMR Powered Data Centres: The Answer to Europe’s Looming Grid Crisis?

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The emergence of generative artificial intelligence (AI) is driving a surge in demand for power-hungry data centre capacity in Europe. This demand faces a number of obstacles including grid capacity constraints and an energy mix that is increasingly prioritising and reliant on domestic intermittent low-carbon intensity power generation.

One solution that has the potential to help address grid capacity limitations and the inherent intermittency of traditional renewable power is the use of small modular reactors (SMR) and micro modular reactors (MMR) as a rapidly deployable, low carbon and (relatively) cost-efficient method of increasing distributed base-load capacity. Whilst obstacles to adoption such as perceived project-on-project risk, cost concerns and challenges associated with schedule alignment have been widely noted, the concept of SMR/MMR powered data centres nonetheless presents strategic, logistical and technical benefits which compliments the imperatives of onshoring critical infrastructure, maximising energy efficiency and mitigating environmental impact.

Chris Taufatofua, Sam Cross and Robin Wallich explore how the growing demand for data centre capacity coupled with the advancement of SMR/MMR technology in the context of grid and low carbon-intensity power generation constraints and geopolitical priorities presents opportunities for those that are willing to invest into these converging spheres.

Read the full article on Funds Europe.

This information is provided by Vinson & Elkins LLP for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as legal advice.