Kazakhstan Mulling Nuclear Power for Combating Electricity Shortages due to Crypto Mining

The fact that Kazakhstan’s government is considering building a nuclear power plant for overcoming the energy deficit in the country allegedly because of the booming crypto mining industry has been reported earlier as well. Miners are contemplating moving out of Kazakhstan because of problems with the power supply, even though the Central Asian country had become the new home for many miners who had had to move out of China when the government cracked down against the crypto mining industry. Now, authorities in Kazakhstan are contemplating the idea of putting a decade-old plan of developing a Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) into effect. 

They believe doing so would solve the country’s current issue of an increasing electricity deficit. The former Soviet Republic has a crypto-friendly attitude and capped tariffs that have helped it in attracting a horde of Chinese miners who were chased away by the Chinese government’s offensive launched against the crypto mining industry in May of 2021. However, a number of them are now leaving Kazakhstan because their mining equipment is idling. According to Magzum Mirzagaliev, the Energy Minister in Kazakhstan, they are currently considering two locations as potential sites for setting up a nuclear station. These include the city of Kurchatov, which is located in the East Kazakhstan region.

The second is the village of Ulken, which is located in the Alma-Ata region. The Energy Minister said that they had the consumption and production balance till 2035 and can clearly identify the need for constructing a nuclear power plant for providing electricity to the economy and population. Kazakhstan has been considering building a nuclear power plant for a decade and is the leader in mining uranium ore. Mirzagaliev did admit that it would take another decade to construct the plant. The Nur-Sultan government is now in talks with the State Atomic Energy Corporation in Russia named Rosatom.

It has constructed NPPs in Belarus, India and China. Kazakhstan will also be able to use the nuclear power plant to achieve its carbon neutrality goals till 2060. The country had begun experiencing shortages of electricity the previous summer, when the first three quarters of the year saw a power deficit of 7% because of the influx of Chinese miners. The energy-hungry data centers were deemed responsible for the shortages in electricity. According to estimates, the energy consumed by a single crypto farm is equal to 24,000 homes. Despite being a major producer of fossil fuels, Kazakhstan was forced to purchase expensive electricity from Russia in order to fulfill the deficit. 

The attitude in Kazakhstan has been generally positive towards the crypto industry. Crypto miners had been welcomed in the country and it had also taken steps for regulating the sector. The recent estimates indicate that the crypto mining sector can add $1.5 billion to the country’s economy in the next five years and the government can also get tax revenue of about $300 million. From January, they are also levying a fee of about $0.0023 per kilowatt hour of the electricity used by registered mining companies.