To further its efforts in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), software giant Microsoft is venturing into the potentially dangerous world of nuclear power. The IT giant has signalled a strategic effort to establish an energy strategy based on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and microreactors by posting a job opening for a Principal Programme Manager in Nuclear Technology. This decision was made public by the posting of the job offering. This initiative’s goal is to provide support for the company’s cloud and artificial intelligence systems, which are growing more energy-intensive.
The duties of the position as well as the required credentials are outlined in the posting for the job, which is no longer accepting applications. It is anticipated that the ideal applicant will have at least six years of experience working in the engineering field, the energy market, or the nuclear business. According to the job description, the primary responsibilities of this post will include “maturing and implementing a global Small Modular Reactor (SMR) and microreactor energy strategy.” Additionally, the function requires investigating a variety of alternative experimental energy methods.
Data centres and artificial intelligence models have a well-deserved reputation for their excessive energy usage. According to the findings of a research that was published in 2019 in the MIT Technology Review, the training of a single AI model might produce as much carbon dioxide as five automobiles over the course of their lifespan. Microsoft plans to address this problem by improving both its software and hardware algorithmic and hardware efficiency, as well as by maximising the use of renewable energy sources such as nuclear power. According to the United States Office of Nuclear Energy, nuclear power is the only kind of energy that does not emit any carbon emissions; hence, it is an attractive choice for Microsoft’s environmental projects.
The change, on the other hand, is not without its difficulties and its detractors. Nuclear energy, according to the findings of researchers at Stanford University, is not a silver bullet for resolving environmental problems because of its protracted planning-to-operation time, enormous carbon footprint, and meltdown hazards. In addition, there are issues over the management of radioactive waste and the establishment of a uranium supply chain, particularly in light of the fact that Russia has been the primary supplier of highly enriched uranium fuel (HALEU) to the rest of the world.
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