Microsoft is hiring for a principal program manager of nuclear technology to "be responsible for maturing and implementing a global small modular reactor (SMR) and microreactor energy strategy."
Late last year, the company procured Clean Energy Credits (CECs) from Canadian energy firm Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to power its data centers. The credits include power from traditional nuclear sources, but could expand to include CECs from an upcoming SMR deployment OPG is planning.
The new job listing states that: "This senior position is tasked with leading the technical assessment for the integration of SMR and microreactors to power the data centers 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.
The role will also be responsible for research and developing other precommercial energy technologies.
The new hire would join the energy innovation team at Microsoft, working with P. Todd Noe, director of nuclear technologies engineering at Microsoft. Noe said on LinkedIn: "This is not just a job, it is a challenge. By joining us, you will be part of a global movement that is transforming the way we produce and consume energy. You will also have the chance to grow your skills, advance your career, and make an impact on millions of lives."
With grids around the world struggling, power availability has become a critical bottleneck for data center builders and delayed projects around the globe - most notably in the sector's densest region, Northern Virginia. The lack of clean power is even more of a challenge as data center companies try to shift to renewable sources.
While traditional nuclear power plants have often come in over-budget and long-delayed, small modular reactors are being pitched as a way to deploy smaller, cheaper, and faster modular reactors.
Such systems could either be deployed at a power plant, which is what Ontario Power Generation plans to do, or even at the site of a data center.
Rolls-Royce has begun pitching 470MW modular power plants to data centers, with a planned roll out of 2030, while Last Energy has already found customers in the UK for 20MW SMRs. Rival NuScale received regulatory approval for 50-77MW SMRs in the US this year, but it has struggled to keep its electricity costs in check. Sam Altman-backed Oklo is also planning 15MW+ SMRs, while Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates has backed TerraPower.
Data center operators are looking to SMRs as a potential solution to power constraints, with Green Energy Partners planning to build multiple small modular nuclear reactors next to the 1.6GW Surry Nuclear Power Plant to support 30 new data centers in Virginia.
Swedish nuclear company Kärnfull Next has announced plans for a campus of small modular reactors (SMRs) on the Swedish coast to power data centers.