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OpenAI in talks with fusion startup Helion

Illustration of a road leading to a glowing atom on the horizon

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

Fusion startup Helion is reportedly in talks to sell electricity to OpenAI, the AI startup and ChatGPT developer, to power its data centers.

Why it matters: Silicon Valley entrepreneur Sam Altman is both the co-founder and CEO of OpenAI and a major investor and chairman of Helion.

Zoom in: The Wall Street Journal reported the potential deal Monday and said Altman recused himself from the deal talks between OpenAI and Helion.

  • The article digs into Altman's various investments across startups and says the holdings he controls are worth at least $2.8 billion as of early this year.

Catch up quick: Altman has invested $375 million into Helion, his largest personal investment.

  • Helion raised a $500 million Series E round in November 2021 led by Altman and including Peter Thiel's Mithra Capital and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz.
  • Helion is working on its seventh fusion prototype, and it expects it to provide the key step of producing electricity sometime this year.
  • Helion is building fusion power plants to sell electricity to Nucor, America's largest steel producer, and Microsoft.
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