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Apple argues with Irish data center critics over nuclear requirements
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MacNN Staff
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Jun 1, 2016, 01:50 PM
Apple is being criticized for trying to justify its placement of a data center in Ireland, by keeping it as far away from nuclear facilities as it can. According to one document, Apple chose to construct the data center at Athenry, County Galway as the best possible location, despite an apparent requirement for it to be at least 320 kilometers (198.8 miles) away from the nearest nuclear facility, though complaints suggest this to be not only a made-up detail to justify the location, but that the chosen plot is also within the supposed range of one nuclear site.

Business Insider reports the "witness statement" from Oscar Gonzalez, an engineer who previously helped select data center locations for both Google and Yahoo before being employed by Apple, attempts to answer complaints about the data center, including its nuclear safety. Apple wants the data center to be far away from nuclear sites, hence the 320km minimum radius, with Gonzalez citing the Fukushima disaster in 2011 "highlighting the need" to minimize the risk to new centers.

When opponents pushed on the distance, noting it is closer to UK nuclear sites than 320km, Gonzalez advised that, while risk needs to be minimized for assets, "in some cases, it is simply not possible to find a suitable site at the preferred distance. In such circumstances, if a site meets the other criteria, the company reluctantly accepts the risk." Gonzalez advises it is approximately 305km away from a closed nuclear facility in North Wales, but is still more than 400km away from the functional Sellafield nuclear fuel reprocessing plant, though independent measurements place each distance at 280km and 370km respectively.

A number of opponents also suggest the 320km limit is arbitrary and not needed, as "the criteria has not been adopted by other international corporations," such as the data centers built by Microsoft and Google near Dublin. Gonzalez states "We cannot comment on the criteria used by other companies."

The document is the latest in the ongoing debate over Apple's potential data center, one that has already raised concerns over how it could affect local wildlife and even the country's electricity supply.
Steve Wilkinson
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Jun 1, 2016, 03:57 PM
That's a bit of a funny criteria... but OK.
Steve Wilkinson
Web designer | Christian apologist
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Jun 1, 2016, 04:01 PM
Sounds like a justification for where they want to build.

If nuclear were a real concern, I'd rather be upwind than any particular distance.
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Jun 2, 2016, 09:28 AM
How typically coastal Californian, frightened spitless by unlikely risks while ignoring far more important issues (here the ecological impact of that location) and unable to even be consistent in their phobias. In this case, Apple seems to assume that drifting radioactive material will be stopped by a border customs check between the UK and Ireland.
Author of Untangling Tolkien and Chesterton on War and Peace
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