While most of the world still balks at the notion of using nuclear energy to power large-scale enterprises, Russia certainly isn’t the rest of the world. In fact, the country recently announced plans to build what could be its largest data center right on top of the Kalinin nuclear power plant. Requiring 80MW to power up to 10,000 racks, the data center will require a constant supply of energy, which makes nuclear reactors a solid choice as an energy source — after all, these reactors also have to run continuously in order to be effective. So while it may be a slightly alarming scenario, it’s admittedly a rather logical one.
Taking efforts to move away from nonrenewable energy like coal and natural gas to a new level, nuclear energy is certainly a green(er) alternative, and with many tech companies like Facebook and Google noting a desire to move away from traditional energy sources, Russia hopes that its new data center will attract some high profile customers. Rosenergoatom, the company behind the data center’s construction, has previously approached these Internet giants with offers of real estate in the new facility. With new data residency laws that necessitate foreign companies to store data from Russian citizens on Russian soil, American companies just may have to accept the invitation.
Initial construction plans place the opening of center’s first phase in March 2017, and the second will follow in the spring of 2018. Already, the project has a hefty price tag of $975 million, which doesn’t even include the cost of IT infrastructure. Still, experts note that it’s a strategic use of Kalinin’s excessive energy production. Moreover, given the latitude of the new data center (temperatures rarely cross 75 degrees Fahrenheit), the facility would likely be able to make use of free cooling. And with the 10,000 racks the center will need to power, free cooling would be a major boon.
So who knows — with the tech industry being as innovative as it is, maybe nuclear powered data centers aren’t so far fetched after all.