Home Computing Microsoft is hiring a nuclear tech ‘principal program manager’

Microsoft is hiring a nuclear tech ‘principal program manager’

by Amelia Ramiro

Microsoft is making a bold move in the energy sector with its recent job listing for a principal program manager in nuclear technology. The tech giant is seeking someone to help mature and implement a global Small Modular Reactor (SMR) and microreactor energy strategy. The infrastructure developed through this role will not only power Microsoft’s cloud computing operations but also support its artificial intelligence initiatives.

This development aligns with Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to nuclear energy, a cause that Bill Gates, the company’s co-founder, has been advocating for. Gates believes that nuclear power is crucial for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. This conviction is reflected in Microsoft’s business strategy, even though Gates no longer oversees day-to-day operations at the company.

SMRs are designed to be more cost-effective, easier to construct, and smaller compared to traditional nuclear reactors. Despite their smaller size, SMRs are capable of generating significant amounts of energy. Earlier this year, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the first-of-its-kind SMR, indicating the anticipation of more to come.

However, Microsoft’s nuclear ambitions face several challenges. SMRs require highly enriched uranium, specifically high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), which is currently supplied primarily by Russia. The strained supply chain resulting from Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine presents a hurdle that must be overcome. Additionally, nuclear waste storage and the potential for disastrous consequences are perpetual concerns for the industry.

While Microsoft acknowledges these challenges, it is also investing in moonshot energy solutions like nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion involves forcing atoms together at extremely high temperatures, producing a smaller atom and substantial amounts of energy. In May, Microsoft announced a partnership with nuclear fusion startup, Helion, with the aim of bringing its first generator online by 2028.

Whether pursuing fission through SMRs or fusion through partnerships like the one with Helion, Microsoft’s nuclear energy ambitions are driving the need for new talent. The principal program manager position comes with a starting salary of $133,600, signaling the company’s commitment to advancing nuclear technology and the potential it holds for their future endeavors.

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