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Kazakhstan Mulls Nuclear Power to Deal With Electricity Shortages Blamed on Crypto Miners

In Kazakhstan, authorities are considering implementing a decade-old plan for building a nuclear power station ( NPP). This is to address the country’s growing electricity shortage. The former Soviet republic attracted many Chinese miners to the country, despite having capped tariffs in place and a crypto-friendly attitude. This was due to Beijing’s offensive launched in May this year. Some of them have since left the country, as their hardware is idle.

According to Magzum Mirzagaliev, Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister Magzum Mirzagaliev, two locations are being considered as possible sites for a new nuclear station. These include the Alma-Ata’s village of Ulken and the East Kazakhstan city of Kurchatov. Mirzagaliev, a Russian news agency Tass, elaborated:

We have the production and consumption balance in place until 2035. We see the necessity to build a nuclear power station to supply electricity to our people and economy.

Kazakhstan is a world leader in uranium mining. It has been contemplating building a nuclear power plant for more than a decade. Mirzagaliev acknowledged that it will take another ten years to build it. Now, the government of Nur-Sultan has been in discussions with Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom. This corporation has built NPPs in China and India as well as Belarus. According to the official, the nuclear power plant will help Kazakhstan achieve its carbon neutrality goals for 2060.

In the third quarter of 2018, the country experienced electricity shortages due to the influx of Chinese miners. The country’s energy-hungry data centres were quickly criticized for the electricity shortages. Authorities estimated that one crypto farm requires as much as 24,000 homes to generate enough energy. To fill the deficit, Kazakhstan, a major source of fossil fuels, had to purchase expensive electricity from Russia.

The attitude of Kazakhstan towards crypto has been generally positive. It has welcomed crypto miners and taken steps to regulate this sector. Recent estimates show that crypto mining could bring in $1.5 billion to the country’s economy over the next five-years. Tax revenue is expected to be more than $300 million. In January, a $0.0023 fee will be levied for each kilowatt hour of electricity that registered mining companies use.