Skip to main content

How Nuclear Energy Helps Canada Snag Data Center Business

Courtesy of the Globe and Mail
Over the holidays, the Globe and Mail, Canada's major national newspaper, took note of a positive business trend for our neighbors to the North -- namely, how more and more companies were locating computer data centers in the country. The trend is becoming so pronounced, that some are openly speculating that the greater Toronto metropolitan area could become a global hub for data center operations.

Among the reasons why: Canada's cool climate means that data centers operating there don't have to spend nearly as much money on energy in order to keep cool. And it doesn't hurt that the nation has access to plenty of affordable and reliable electricity:
Information technology services company Fujitsu Canada is planning to open a facility to take advantage of what Canada has to offer. Free cooling, however, is only part of the picture. Access to cheap, clean, reliable energy is also a magnet for investors looking to build these power-hungry facilities, some of which consume roughly as much energy as a small city.

“The advantage Canada has is it’s far cheaper and easier to bring data to power sources, and vice versa,” says Mike O’Neil, president of IT research firm IT Market Dynamics. “It’s much cheaper to stick your data centre next to a hydro dam.”
Or in the case of Ontario, Canada's most heavily populated province, a nuclear power plant. After all, nuclear energy, along with hydropower, are the two leading sources of emission-free electricity all over the world. According to our friends at Ontario Power Generation, more than 50% of the province's electricity is generated by nuclear energy. Together, the nuclear energy facilities at Pickering and Darlington generate an impressive 6,600 megawatts.

As our Mark Flanagan noted a few months ago, Greenpeace has tried to raise hackles about companies relocating data centers to areas with copious amounts of nuclear energy, but the whole effort hasn't seemed to amount to much thus far. It's too bad the Globe and Mail failed to mention how nuclear energy is helping foster the trend they've identified.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …