Nuclear-powered data campus makes progress

19 November 2021

GSE Solutions has been contracted by Talen Energy to support the development of the infrastructure needed to bring power from Talen's two-unit Susquehanna nuclear power station to the flagship Susquehanna Hyperscale Data Center Campus (SHC) which is being developed by Talen subsidiary Cumulus Data. The Pennsylvania campus will be home to a carbon-free cryptocurrency mining facility as well as a data centre.

A rendering of the data centre campus next to the Susquehanna power plant (Image: Linxon)

Cumulus is rapidly developing the SHC on undeveloped land next to the power plant, and has called on GSE DP Engineering, a GSE Solutions company which is already a service provider to the station, to prepare design modifications to connect new transmission lines into existing 230 kV and 500 kV lines currently serving the main switchyards at the facility, GSE said. The substation powering the initial carbon cryptocurrency mining facility and data centre has the potential to grow to 300 MWe.

GSE's scope of work includes consideration of impacts of the new transmission lines on existing plant operations as well as the design of new, integrated protective relaying to interface with the nuclear power plant's protective relaying, transmission system protective relaying, and relaying in the new SHC substations.

"As the adoption of technology advances, and consumes ever more energy, there is increasing demand for zero-carbon energy for data centres that support applications like cloud computing, data storage and cryptocurrency processing," GSE Solutions President and CEO Kyle Loudermilk said. "Nuclear energy provides highly reliable, 24/7 carbon free power and is a natural fit for these essential data centres."

Talen earlier this year announced a joint venture with US-based bitcoin mining company TeraWulf to develop the Nautilus Cryptomine at the digital campus adjacent to the two-unit Susquehanna nuclear power plant. Through its wholly-owned subsidiary Cumulus Digital, the company in September secured a six-year strategic capital partnership worth up to USD175 million with Orion Energy Partners to fund common infrastructure for the data centre campus and the Nautilus Cryptomine.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held on 30 September, and Talen in October selected SNC-Lavalin and Hitachi Energy joint venture Linxon to deliver three greenfield substations for the project. The first two of Cumulus' data centres - one for hyperscale cloud and the other for the bitcoin facility - are expected to be completed by the second half of 2022.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News