Nuclear utility Rosenergoatom is about to begin construction of Russia’s largest data centre, with a capacity of up to 10,000 racks, according to plant director Mikhail Kanyshev.

The plant, being built adjacent to the Kalinin nuclear palnt in Tver, is also close to fibre-optic lines between Moscow and St Petersburg, providing the double advantage of reliable power and fast communications links.

The first phase is due to enter service in March 2017, and the second a year later, he said. Nuclear utility Rosenergoatom expects the Kalinin data centre to consume about 80MWe, or about 2% of the plant’s generating capacity. The plant has four 1000MWe VVER reactors.

Cooling is another key factor in siting data centres, Tver’s climate sees summer highs of around 24 Celsius in July with highs typically under 20 Celsius from September to May, meaning the data center would be able to use free cooling for a large part of the year if the designers wished.

Rosenergoatom has already approached these major internet companies such as Google and Facebook with offers of real estate in the new facility. Under Russia’s stringent new data storage laws, any data on Russian citizens must be stored in domestic servers, and Rosenergatom expects business to be brisk. Only 10% of the racks will be reserved for Rosenergoatom’s use, leaving the rest available for lease by commercial customers. The project cost is put at $975m, not including the cost of IT infrastructure.