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Microsoft is seeking a nuclear power manager as AI consumes too much energy

Microsoft Azure logo with an aerial view of a datacenter

In recent months, Microsoft has accelerated its AI efforts. At last week's Surface event, the company unveiled new features for its Copilot AI tool. However, AI requires intensive work in the data center. One report even showed that ChatGPT drinks half a liter of water for every 20 commands.

According to a new job posting (spotted by DCD), Microsoft is considering using nuclear power to run its massive data centers. The company seeks a "Principal Program Manager Nuclear Technology" to lead efforts to integrate small modular reactors (SMRs) and microreactors potentially.

This person would be tasked with developing a strategy and roadmap for adopting nuclear technology, selecting partners, and evaluating business impacts.

SMRs are smaller, simpler nuclear fission plants that can be mass-produced and more easily sited than traditional reactors. While no commercial SMRs operate yet, Microsoft seems intrigued by their compact size and carbon-free power generation. With data centers being major energy hogs, Microsoft is searching for ways to reduce costs and environmental footprint.

This senior position is tasked with leading the technical assessment for the integration of SMR and microreactors to power the datacenters that the Microsoft Cloud and AI reside on. They will maintain a clear and adaptable roadmap for the technology’s integration, diligently select and manage technology partners and solutions, and constantly evaluate the business implications of progress and implementation.

However, significant barriers remain to the deployment of SMRs. The technology is still in development and faces regulatory hurdles. Siting nuclear facilities near data centers could also raise security concerns. So Microsoft is looking for someone with experience in the energy sector who understands the regulations.

The ideal candidate will have experience in the energy industry and a deep understanding of nuclear technologies and regulatory affairs. This role will also be responsible for research and developing other precommercial energy technologies.

Microsoft has already invested in other nascent energy technologies like fusion power. But, realizing its goal of carbon-negative operations by 2030 may require more proven and scalable solutions.

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