Power Surges Hit ‘Cursed’ $1.4bn NSA Data Centre

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Meltdowns reported at the NSA data storage site whose electricity was cursed by protesters

A series of electrical fires has delayed a giant data centre intended for the National Security Agency (NSA), causing up to $1 million worth of damage to equipment for the site – one of three planned  to hold data and provide computing for the NSA’s controversial surveillance work.

There have been at least ten serious electrical “meltdowns” at the $1.4 billion (£870k) data centre which is being built in Utah for the secretive US government agency, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The fiery explosions each destroyed around $100,000 worth of computers and other equipment – and spookily, have been revealed after a protester cursed the site’s electricity.

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Electrical surges

The 65MW site in Bluffdale Utah site, will hold Cray supercomputers and will be bigger than Google’s largest, and hold exabytes of data. The NSA’s design relies on Utahs’s cheap electricity and, like the eBay data centre elsewhere in Utah, will have been designed to use the minimum power for cooling, despite Utah’s warm climate.

The centre is being built by Balfour Beatty, DPR and Big-D Construction. The electrical system is from KingStubbins.

The WSJ claims to have seen evidence of shoddy work and arguments behind the scenes over the cause of the fires. “Documents and interviews paint a picture of a project that cut corners to speed building,” the paper says.

The Utah site has been the focus for protests against the NSA’s surveillance activity, the extent of which was revealed in documents leaked by Edward Snowden. By coincidence, one of these protests on 4 July, included called fora curse on the data centre’s electricity supply.

“I pray Lord that you would have a curse on that facility.  On the water that goes into that facility. On the electricity that goes into that facility,”  said Dale Williams, who led  a protest held at the Utah Veterans Memorial Park, near Bluffdale, which was filmed by Fox News.

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