The exodus of Bitcoin miners from China to Kazakhstan has contributed to an energy crisis that the president of the Central Asian country has proposed to solve with nuclear power.

The Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan has attributed to Bitcoin miners the 8% increase in national electricity consumption throughout 2021. The country has received at least 87,849 Bitcoin mining machines from Chinese companies so far this year, following China’s crackdown on cryptocurrency mining, according to Financial Times data.

The considerable increase in demand has caused a deficit in the national electricity supply and has contributed to unreliable electricity services, according to the Kazakhstan Power Grid Operation Company. President Tokayev told bankers at a meeting on November 19 that he believes the construction of a nuclear power plant will help ease the strain on his country’s electrical infrastructure:

“Looking ahead, we will have to make an unpopular decision about building a nuclear power plant.”

Although Tokayev did not link the proposal to energy use for Bitcoin mining, Failure to keep miners in the country could jeopardize the estimated US $ 1.58 billion tax revenues that those miners represent. The power shortage has already forced the Bitcoin “Xive” mining market to leave Kazakhstan. Didar Bekbau, co-founder of Xive, said in a tweet on November 25 that he had had to shut down his company’s mining farm due to “restricted supply of electricity from the grid.”

Kazakhstan is now home to 50 registered cryptocurrency mining companies and an unknown number of unregistered companies.

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The decision to build new nuclear power plants is serious in a country that suffered a serious nuclear fallout from weapons tests during the Soviet occupation. The last nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan closed in 1999.

Currently, About 88% of Kazakhstan’s energy comes from fossil fuel plants.

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