Russia Started To Build The Largest Nuclear-Powered Data Center

Russia's state-owned nuclear power company, Rosenergoatom has started the construction of the largest data center in Russia. The data center will be powered by nuclear energy from one of its power plants.

According to Datacenter Dynamics, the first phase of the data center is expected to open in March 2017, and the second phase will be online in the summer of 2018. The data center will utilize the power from Kalinin nuclear power plant.

Kalinin power plant is located in the city of Udomlya, 200 kilometers (120 miles) northwest of Moscow, is one of the biggest nuclear power plant in Russia. Its four reactors are capable to produce 4,000 MW electric power to supply power to the region, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Vladimir. The first reactor was built in 1977 and started to produce electricity in 1985, while the fourth reactor started generating power in 2012.

According to Tech Eye, Rosenergoatom currently operates ten nuclear power plants with 33 reactors. The company plans to increase the number of reactors to 59 by 2030. In order to support its expansion plan, the Udomlyan data center will be utilized to cosolidate its IT and data infrastructure from all power stations.

Russia is known to develop advanced nuclear reactor technology known as Water-Water-Energetic-Reactor (VVER), a more advanced and safer than RBMK. The VVER safety measures has passed international safety standard, with its four safety layers to prevent radioactive material from leaking out. Kalinin power plant is also using VVER nuclear reactor, and Russia also has exported the technology to 17 countries.

Engadget reported that the data center will only use 80MW to generate power for around 10,000 server racks. Total cost for building construction of data center is projected to be $975 million, excluding IT infrastructure.  

As the owner of data center, Rosenergoatom will only utilize 10% of facilities. While the rest will be leased for commercial customers. Rosenergoatom has approached Facebook and Google to use its facilities, in order to comply with Russian's data residency law.

Data residency law is a federal law issued by Russian authority last September. It required all foreign businesses that handle the personal data of Russian citizens to keep them stored in servers located within the country. Roskomnadzor or Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications is the appointed government agency for administering the implementation. 

Abundant nuclear energy is a major advantage for Russia to develop the largest nuclear-powered data center. The first phase is expected to go online in March 2017, while the entire data center will be operational completely in 2018.

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