New Objections to Apple's Irish Data Center Focus on Proximity to Nuclear Power Plants

Apple continues to defend its proposed data center in Galway County, Ireland, during an oral hearing brought together from an appeal by independent planning body An Bord Pleanála. This time, those against the company's site in Derrydonnell Forest argued that it is planning to build in a location that's too close to a local nuclear power plant (via Business Insider).

Oscar Gonzalez, who works in data center site selection at Apple, defended the company's west coast of Ireland location, stating that it meets Apple's goal of being at least 320km from the nearest nuclear facility. According to a few witnesses present at the oral hearing, however, the Derrydonnell Forest location was so desired by Apple that the company manufactured the arbitrary 320km rule of thumb to eliminate areas of Ireland that are specially designated for data center construction.

Apple Data Center
"Brenda McGuane and Others" suggest that Apple adopted the 320km radius to eliminate more suitable plots of land in other parts of Ireland. They say: "the selection of sites greater than 320km from nuclear facilities is not a criteria adopted by Apple for its data centres in the US. The criteria has not been adopted by other international corporations."

The fact that the likes of Google and Microsoft have built data centres near Dublin shows that other large tech companies are willing to put their server farms less than 320km away from UK nuclear sites.
The nearest nuclear facility to the proposed site - called Wylfa Nuclear Power Station - is located in Wales and is approximately 280km away, but it's been closed down for a few years, so its use as a violation of Apple's own rules didn't hold much water during the oral hearings. The second farthest site that is currently operating, located in Sellafield in the United Kingdom, is about 370km from Derrydonnel Forest.

Gonzalez said that Apple first and foremost attempts to "minimize the risk" of site selection, referring to the 320km rule, but when it has to accept compromises it does so "reluctantly." Engineer Allan Daly pointed out that Apple's ruleset for picking and choosing data center locations remains largely nebulous on a plot-by-plot basis, suggesting the company "picks and chooses" when it decides to meet them. "The distances to nuclear facilities, military installation and fuel distribution centers are arbitrary, and can be increased or decreased," Daly wrote.

In response, Gonzalez stuck to Apple's reluctant compromise point, explaining that as time passes, potential data center sites are evaluated by different rules and perspective as Apple's "huge growth in demand" changes the need for such sites. Other protestors of the Derrydonnel Forest location have attempted to use its negative impact on the population of local bats and badgers, and poor water maintenance that could flood a local golf course, as their main points of contention against Apple.



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31 months ago
What are the real reasons Apple want to build a data centre in the middle of a forest?

They haven't adequately explained the reasons for that and why they don't want to use other locations ear marked for data centres.
Rating: 8 Votes
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31 months ago

Yeah it's really lame when a private company has the gall to "pick and choose" what land they pay tons of money for so they can build stuff that creates jobs and its own clean electricity


Yeah, how dare they oppose the awesomeness of Apple because of a bunch of trees? Those 50 full-time jobs they'll create with the datacenter will save the local economy for sure... Who needs trees?? People need more jobs! Good paying, hard working, COAL jobs! Sounds familiar?
Here: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-new-data-center-north-carolina-created-50-jobs-2011-11?op=1
And here: https://www.electricireland.ie/business/help/efficiency/fuel-mix-disclosure
Rating: 7 Votes
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31 months ago
Yeah it's really lame when a private company has the gall to "pick and choose" what land they pay tons of money for so they can build stuff that creates jobs and its own clean electricity
Rating: 6 Votes
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31 months ago
The more I read of the story the more I hope their planning request is refused. Apple are obviously playing a very dangerous political and environmental game just because they want to benefit themselves first and foremost, it's a giant arrogant corporation, they couldn't care less about the people or animals or nuclear power stations in the area, anymore then they do their customers.
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What's more important: the distance to the closed down power plant in Wales in The UK or the badger families set in this magical Forrest?

The person placing these objections sounds like an Eco-warrior / NIMBY. The same people in Ireland who don't want any industry in their area - yet moan about emigration. Also, probably this same guy who complains about a decommissioned nuclear power plant across the Irish Sea in a DIFFERENT COUNTRY would have issues with construction of wind turbines in Ireland for "visual pollution".


I'm sure he'll be on Irish radio lapping up all the free air time this week. Can't wait. Will give him a great platform next time he runs for the Green Party in local elections.

Hopefully common sense will prevail.


Nature and the environment is FAR FAR FAR FAR FAR more important then a flipping data centre!
Do you also support all the destruction of the Amazon rain forest? All the insects and plants that are yet to be discovered there that are now destroyed, insects and plants that could hold the keys to the cure of cancer or AIDS or other diseases? Because they do find cures for these things from that forest.

Their are PLENTY of other places Apple can use, it just doesn't want to for most likely stupid reasons or costs, just like how they won't include features in their products to increase profits to the max.
Rating: 6 Votes
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31 months ago
More importantly, what's the distance to Craggy island?
Rating: 4 Votes
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31 months ago

Yeah it's really lame when a private company has the gall to "pick and choose" what land they pay tons of money for so they can build stuff that creates jobs and its own clean electricity


If Apple wanted to pay tons of money for a spot in the middle of Yellowstone National Park they should be able to?
Rating: 4 Votes
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31 months ago

If it's for sale sure, but Apple has neither expressed a desire to buy land in Yellowstone nor the gov't to sell. So your question is loaded and irrelevant because that isn't what is going on here. Apple is buying land that isn't a national park, isn't protected, and is for sale and developable according to the laws of Ireland.

Honestly, there is already a nuke plant nearby. It seems like the area has already become industrialized. The plot Apple is looking at is next to a golf course and other fields. The patch of trees that will be torn down is hardly a forest. It's more like a thick cluster.

I'm no expert on Irish environmental regulations, but it is part of the EU, which does have strict environmental impact rules. Not sure what else there is other than to stop all human development for the rest of time.


Regardless of whether the land resides in a national park or not, a company doesn't get to do whatever it wants because it can pay a lot of money--at least not *all* the time. Even if the plot of land is a run down parking lot, Apple has to follow the regulations and laws of the community it wishes to enter and if they have the power to reject the data center then Apple can go somewhere else.
Rating: 3 Votes
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31 months ago
Nuclear is cheap, reliable energy that emits no CO2. Apple should be building its data centers WITH a Nuclear power plant, not running away from them. Sheesh.
Rating: 2 Votes
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31 months ago
Okay.

Apple, you can come to Portugal and build a data center here. We don't have nuclear power plants.

We don't ask for that much money as Irish people ask.

We have good qualified people here that have to immigrate to (countries like IE and UK) to find a job.

Too bad you have to pay taxes here... :/
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What are the real reasons Apple want to build a data centre in the middle of a forest?


Probably because they have a source of cold water there, which they can use to cool the servers.

And because it's practically interference free from radio radiations, but I don't see big advantage there, as DDR4 memory will have ECC as standard.
Rating: 2 Votes
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31 months ago

And if Father Ted found out about it, would he be out protesting?

Hmm, according to Wikipedia Dermot Morgan passed on 28 February 1998. Tim Cook joined Apple in March 1998. Coincidence?

Damn! You beat me to it!
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More importantly, what's the distance to Craggy island?


Father Jack was approached for a statement. Unfortunately the rules prevent us from publishing it here....
Rating: 2 Votes
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