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Carbon Emissions Are Nearly Zero and Power Dissipation Is Nuclear Power Suitable for Bitcoin Mining?



Nuclear power is theoretically the most suitable energy source for Bitcoin mining.

The current energy consumption problem caused by Bitcoin mining has attracted global attention. Musk even issued a series of articles criticizing Bitcoin's consumption of fossil energy, especially coal. Thermal power is stable but easy to cause pollution. New energy sources such as hydropower, photovoltaics, and wind power are unstable and difficult to store. For the mining industry, downtime means loss of profit. There is an opinion that non-polluting, low-cost, and extremely stable nuclear power may be the most suitable form of energy for Bitcoin mining.

In Eastern Europe, where there is a surplus of electricity, nuclear power may already be mining Bitcoin. On May 6, 2020, the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine issued a Facebook statement stating that Bitcoin and digital currency mining is a modern and efficient way to utilize excess energy. The post stated that due to the national lockdown of the new crown pneumonia, the local nuclear power plant generated a large amount of surplus electricity resources. The acting head of Ukraine’s energy ministry has given state-owned company Energoatom until May 8 to study potential methods of using nuclear power generation facilities in the country for bitcoin mining.

Li Guoquan: Blockchain can help companies provide standardized carbon emission data: news on September 25, September 24, at the 8th Global Blockchain Summit hosted by Wanxiang Blockchain Lab - Ji "Soil" "At the Chengshan Privacy Computing and Data Governance Forum, Professor Li Guoquan of the Singapore University of Social Sciences said in a keynote speech that blockchain can help companies provide more accurate, reliable and easy-to-obtain standardized carbon emission data. At the same time, the reduction of carbon footprint in the entire value chain can be better calculated, tracked and reported through smart contracts. The decentralized ledger mechanism of the blockchain can achieve efficient transactions, optimize workflow, simplify multi-party processes, improve accountability while minimizing disputes, and open up new markets through Tokenization. For carbon markets, blockchain could revolutionize the industry by disaggregating bulk carbon credit financial instruments, enabling individuals to participate in a carbon-free future through currently closed mandatory markets. Millions of people around the world aspire to create an ecologically responsible future, and blockchain can enable everyone to participate in the goal of a carbon-neutral future. (Babbitt) [2022/9/25 7:19:25]

However, just a year ago, Ukrainian security services arrested power plant operators for mining cryptocurrencies at the Yuzhnuklansk nuclear power plant facility. According to court documents, the employee mainly used graphics cards for mining, using AMD's Radeon RX 470, and used a total of 11 graphics cards.

Algorand will deploy the first smart contract to offset carbon emissions: Golden Finance News, the blockchain company Algorand announced that it will deploy the first smart contract to automatically offset carbon emissions. The smart contract automatically allocates a portion of each transaction fee to offset its carbon emissions. (PR Newswire) [2022/4/22 14:42:07]

The latest news shows that in 2021, Ukraine’s state-owned power company Eneroatom announced plans to build a number of giant data centers near the country’s nuclear power plants to mine Bitcoin and store sensitive national information. The company lost $171 million in 2020. This also shows that the large-scale use of nuclear energy mining is still in the planning stage.

In addition, countries with excess electricity such as Russia and Belarus are also considering using nuclear energy for mining. In September 2017, the governor of the Leningrad region invited cryptocurrency miners to Sosnobeb near St. Petersburg to build an industrial-scale mine at the old Leningrad nuclear power plant. In 2019, the President of Belarus stated at a meeting with representatives of the IT industry that to develop digital currency mining with national power, the mining industry will be allowed to set up factories in the country and use excess nuclear power to provide electricity for new digital currency mines.

News | Research: Bitcoin mining is only a third of the carbon emissions it assumes: Bitcoin mining isn’t as carbon-intensive as we all think, says researchers at Denmark’s Aalborg University horrible. Many previous studies on Bitcoin's environmental impact have made "blank assumptions" about the carbon emissions from mining, but few of these studies have attempted to come up with precise figures. Under these assumptions, the carbon emissions from Bitcoin mining are as high as 63 megatons per year, but the actual figure is about 17.29 megatons per year, less than a third of the assumed figure. (Decrypt)[2019/11/21]

In fact, due to the large number of nuclear power plants left over from the Soviet era in Eastern Europe and the lack of domestic industrial economic development, there is a serious surplus of electricity, and state-owned nuclear power plants suffer serious losses. Similar to the abandonment of water and electricity in Sichuan, China, only by developing Bitcoin mining can we use waste electricity and bring income growth to the local area. It can be expected that nuclear energy bitcoin mining in underdeveloped areas of Eastern Europe will be carried out one after another.

(picture from Zhihu Wen Xiangmao)

What are the advantages of nuclear energy? Refer to Zhihu’s reply: 1. Clean energy, low environmental impact, and extremely small carbon emissions. Most of the current environmental pollution problems are caused by the use of fossil fuels. The combustion of fossil fuels emits a large amount of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and dust, causing global temperature rise, frequent acid rain, and destruction of the ozone layer, causing great threats and damage to humans and the environment. Nuclear power plants do not cause such environmental pollution because they do not use fossil fuels. 2. The operating power of nuclear power is stable. Unlike wind power and hydropower, which are greatly affected by the external environment, nuclear power is generally refueled once every 18 months, and the reactor needs to be shut down for 2 to 3 weeks. At other times, it basically runs at full power, which is suitable for mining. 3. The correlation with the external environment is small, and power supply can also be provided in remote areas, without affecting the electricity consumption in industrial areas.

In addition, nuclear energy professionals pointed out to Wu that the reason why nuclear power mining is suitable is also related to "abandoning electricity". The cost of shutting down a nuclear power plant is very high. Generally, it needs to work continuously for 1 to 1.5 years before shutting down for maintenance. Therefore, when the electricity consumption is low during the operation of the power station, the nuclear power station cannot be shut down like thermal power. This part of the electricity belongs to the electricity that cannot be consumed and stored.

But nuclear power also exists: 1. The uranium 235 burned by nuclear power plants is scarce; 2. Nuclear waste is not easy to handle; 3. Once an accident occurs, it will cause great safety hazards. In addition, due to the very strict "Nuclear Safety Law" in China, and the related industrial chains are all state-owned enterprises, military industries, etc., coupled with the rapid economic development, and the industry itself is still in short supply of electricity, the possibility of using nuclear energy for mining is almost zero.

Wu said the author | Colin Wu

Editor of this issue | Colin Wu


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