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AI Boom Needs Nuclear, Constellation Energy CEO Says

The AI-driven boost in power consumption is going to be big for nuclear energy, according to Joe Dominguez, chief executive officer of Constellation Energy Corp.

The largest US operator of nuclear plants is the third-best performer on the S&P 500 Index this year. The 60% gain has come as the power industry is recognizing that computing will drive the biggest spike in power consumption in a generation.

Dominguez’s phone is ringing off the hook as tech companies, data center operators and other firms look for reliable sources of energy, he said during an interview with Bloomberg TV.

“Everybody is looking for power,” Dominguez said. “People are looking at nuclear because AI demands a lot of power.”

More work is needed for nuclear to meet those demands. A key issue with nuclear is that building it is slow, and Dominguez has four strategies to help reactors deliver more power to a grid that’s suddenly in need of it.

First, keep existing nuclear plants open, he said. That’s important since the US saw more than a dozen shut down in the past decade or so. Second, Constellation is looking for ways to upgrade its facilities, to fine-tune the systems so they can deliver more electricity.

Third, he suggests restarting some of the facilities that have been shuttered. The Energy Department just announced a $1.5 billion loan to help reopen the Palisades plant in Michigan that shut down in 2022. And finally, the industry is developing new reactor technologies, though it will be years before any are ready for commercial deployment.

Source: Bloomberg