TeraWulf's Pennsylvania facility to start nuclear-powered Bitcoin mining

Pennsylvania-based Nautilus Cryptomine facility is now solely running on the nuclear power generated by Susquehanna station.

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TeraWulf’s Nautilus Cryptomine in Pennsylvania has started producing hashrate

Following its initial announcement in August 2021, Nautilus Cryptomine, a Pennsylvania-based crypto mining facility, started operating yesterday. The facility, which was set up as a joint venture with Talen Energy Corporation, a power generation company, relies solely on the electricity generated by the on-site Susquehanna nuclear power plant.

The current hashrate capacity of the facility equipped with 8,000 miners is 1.0 EH /s. TeraWulf plans to increase it to 50 MW and 1.9 EH/s by May, when nearly 8,000 more mining rigs will be added to the pool. There are also plans to expand the Bitcoin mining capacity by another 50 MW in the future.

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"With the recent energization of the Nautilus facility earlier this month, approximately 16,000 of TeraWulf’s owned miners, representing 1.9 EH/s of self-mining capacity, are onsite and being brought online daily. The Nautilus nuclear-powered mining facility benefits from what is arguably the lowest cost power in the sector, just $0.02/kWh for a term of five years. We look forward to continuing to work alongside Cumulus Coin as the Nautilus facility increases operational hash rate in the coming weeks," Chairman and CEO of TeraWulf Paul Prager stated in Monday’s press release.

Dark shades of green energy

TeraWulf, founded in 2021 as a Bitcoin mining company, which aims to reduce carbon emissions to zero, is focused on sustainable resources. Its first Lake Mariner facility in New York, which began operations in March 2022, uses hydroelectric and solar power. Although the said mining farm does not run entirely on zero-carbon energy, it is arguably more environmentally friendly than the 100% zero-carbon Nautilus Cryptomine.

The environmental impact of nuclear power plants has been the subject of much debate for decades. On the one hand, they have enormous potential for generating energy without carbon emissions. On the other hand, they carry significant risks.

While modern energy manufacturers invest significant resources in building safe plants that are resistant to various factors that can cause a disaster, it is still impossible to avoid all possible threats, which range from terrorist attacks to natural disasters and a human error.

However, even the safest facilities face the problem of nuclear waste disposal, which can remain radioactive for thousands of years. The most dangerous type of waste is fuel that has been used in a nuclear power reactor and is “spent,” or no longer efficient in producing power — despite still containing more than 90% of its potential energy. Parts of nuclear reactors after decommissioning also contain particularly high doses of radiation.

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Safe storage of radioactive waste is a major challenge for countries and administrations. According to the US Energy Information Administration:

"Spent reactor fuel assemblies are highly radioactive and, initially, must be stored in specially designed pools of water. The water cools the fuel and acts as a radiation shield. Spent reactor fuel assemblies can also be stored in specially designed dry storage containers. An increasing number of reactor operators now store their older spent fuel in dry storage facilities using special outdoor concrete or steel containers with air cooling. The United States does not currently have a permanent disposal facility for high-level nuclear waste."

Currently, TeraWulf is also engaged in the construction of Building 2 at the Lake Mariner facility. Expected operating capacity after the expansion may increase from 60 MW to 110 MW. Overall, the company hopes to reach the hashrate of 5.5 EH produced by a total of 50,000 mining devices.