Amazon Web Services (AWS) has acquired Talen Energy’s data center campus connected to the Susquehanna nuclear station in northeast Pennsylvania.

In a statement, Talen said it had sold the 960 MW Cumulus data center campus to a ‘major cloud services provider,’ revealed as AWS in a call with investors March 4.

The $650 million sale includes all land, power infrastructure, powered shell and intangibles on the data center campus. Talen will receive $350 million at close, with $300 million in escrow to be released following development milestones reached in 2024.

As AWS develops the data center, Talen will supply carbon-free power directly from the Susquehanna plant through a power purchase agreement (PPA). Amazon’s cloud platform plans to expand the data center campus to up to 960 MW of power consumption.

AWS has contractual power commitments that will ramp up in 120 MW increments over several years, starting in 2025. Each step up in capacity commitment has a fixed price for the initial ten-year term, after which it reprises based on a fixed margin above PJM Energy and capacity prices.

AWS will also have a one-time option to cap power capacity commitments at 480 MW. There are also two 10-year extension options linked to the license renewals of Susquehanna’s two nuclear units in 2042 and 2044.

Susquehanna Unit 1 has been in operation since 1983 and delivers about 1,257 MW. Unit 2, which has the same power capacity, was commissioned two years later.

Under the agreement, and separate from powering the campus, Talen Energy will receive additional revenue from AWS related to the remaining power that Susquehanna sells to the PJM wholesale market.

The Independent Power Producer is also retaining its interest in the Nautilus cryptocurrency facility. TeraWulf and Talen Energy had a reached a deal to build the bitcoin mine next to the Susquehanna twin reactors in 2021. TeraWulf uses 50 MW of capacity from the nuclear plant to power its operations.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), electricity consumption from data centers, artificial intelligence (AI) and the cryptocurrency sector could double by 2026. Data centers project to be significant drivers of growth in electricity demand in many regions.

In the U.S. alone, data center demand is expected to reach 35 GW by 2030, up from 17 GW in 2022, McKinsey & Company projects.[KC1] 

“Around-the-clock nuclear power matches very well with around-the-clock data center power needs,” said Talen President and Chief Executive Officer Mac McFarland.

Technology companies are notably exploring carbon-free nuclear energy to power artificial intelligence (AI) applications.

Microsoft wants to integrate advanced nuclear technology into powering its data centers. In September the company announced its search for a Principal Program Manager of Nuclear Technology, who would be responsible for implementing a global small modular reactor (SMR) and microreactor energy strategy.

The Principal Program Manager would be tasked with leading the technical assessment for the integration of SMRs and microreactors to power the company’s data centers, according to the posting. This individual would maintain a roadmap for this integration and select reactor technology partners and solutions, Microsoft said.

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