OpenAI to buy electricity from CEO Sam Altman's nuclear fusion side hustle

Knowing your supplier is always good – and super lab's auditors promise to check for conflicts of interest

OpenAI is reportedly in talks with Helion to get access to the startup's not-yet-possible nuclear fusion-driven electricity generators.

The negotiations were revealed by a Wall Street Journal report, which claims any deal would provide "vast quantities" of power to OpenAI for operating datacenters of machine-learning work.

Altman, CEO of OpenAI, separately serves as the chairman of Helion's board of directors with a $375 million stake in the nuclear firm. He has recused himself from the negotiations, it's stated.

Getting OpenAI as a customer would be a win for Helion, which aims to build practical useful fusion power plants using technology that's still under development. Whatever deal the two parties agree to, it could mean more R&D for Helion so it can pursue possibly-not-workable nuclear fusion tech.

It's important to note that OpenAI trains and runs its AI models on Microsoft Azure servers, and isn't known to own any datacenters at present.

A rumored $100 billion AI supercomputer termed Stargate could be a plausible use for all that power. The supercomputer project has the backing of OpenAI and is projected to require five gigawatts of power. The projected completion date for the supercomputer is 2028, incidentally, the same year that Microsoft, Helion's first customer, is supposed to start getting power from the upstart.

While Microsoft's deal concerns a 50 megawatt power plant, perhaps Helion aims to have more capacity than just that, and wants to sell its energy supply to OpenAI, which would need lots of power if it wants to build a few more supercomputers of its own. ®

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