Nuclear-Powered Data Center Planned in Connecticut

By Jack Rogers, ALM GLOBEST

The rapidly expanding data center sector, with a voracious appetite for electricity, increasingly has been embracing renewable energy as the most viable path for expanding data-processing capacity while reducing carbon footprints.

The power and water consumption of data centers—as well as the noise generated by the operations—have fueled NIMBY backlash in many locations as the industry’s footprint expands.

Now comes a project that offers a unique solution to these issues—an alternative electricity source that doesn’t burn fossil fuels and a location that is probably NIMBY-proof: a new data center player and one of the largest US utilities are teaming to put a data center in the back yard of nuclear power plant.

Richmond, VA-based Dominion Energy—the primary supplier of electricity for the largest North American data center hub in Northern Virginia—and NE Edge have announced plans to build a 1.5M SF data center campus adjacent to Dominion’s nuclear power plant in Waterford, Connecticut.

The companies have filed plans in Waterford to build the campus, consisting of two hyperscale data centers, next to the Millstone Nuclear Power Station, a 57-year-old facility owned by Dominion, according to a report in the Connecticut Examiner.

Millstone is Connecticut’s only nuclear power plant—and the only nuke facility in New England with more than one operating reactor. At full power, the Waterford complex can generate more than 2 gigawatts of electricity.

Under an incentive enacted in Connecticut in 2021 to spur data center development, data centers are exempted from local property taxes if they negotiate a fee with the municipality where the facility will be located. NE Edge has offered $231M to Waterford over 30 years in lieu of the property tax, according to the newspaper report.

The partners are planning two, two-story data centers on a 25-acre site adjacent to the power plant, the first encompassing 1.14M SF and the second totaling 428K SF, with delivery expected by mid-2025.

The data center campus will draw power directly from the Millstone plant in what is known as a “behind the meter” agreement with Dominion. Behind the meter arrangements generally have lower rates because no transmission is involved in servicing the facility.

The partners also said the Millstone data center campus will save on water consumption by using a closed-loop air conditioning system.

Last year, Dominion Energy disrupted development plans for several new data centers in the epicenter of the NoVa cluster in Loudoun County when the utility announced it needed to install new high-transmission lines to increase capacity before new development comes on line. The upgrade is expected to be completed in 2025.

The partial pause in new development in Loudoun County has spurred development of data centers in the Virginia counties surrounding Loudoun—and in neighboring Maryland, where a gigawatt-capacity hyperscale campus is being built—sites where developers can still plug into the nation’s largest fiber optic network in NoVa without needing to wait out Dominion’s capacity upgrade.

NE Edge, launched last year by Thomas Quinn, the former CEO of Verde Group, also has proposed to build a 980K SF hyperscale facility in Bozrah, CT.