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Russia lays down world’s largest icebreaker

Published time: November 05, 2013 22:49
Edited time: November 06, 2013 09:31
Baltiysky Zavod Shipyard (RIA Novosti/Alexei Danichev)

Baltiysky Zavod Shipyard (RIA Novosti/Alexei Danichev)

Russia has started building the world’s largest universal nuclear-powered icebreaker capable of navigating in the Arctic and in the shallow waters of Siberian rivers. The unique vessel will further increase Russia’s dominance in the region.

The 173m ship is being built by the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard in St Petersburg, and is planned to be completed by 2017. Once finished the ship will be 14 meters longer and 4 meters wider than the current record holder, “50 year Victory” that is 159 meters long and 30 meters  wide.

"There is no doubt that this work will be completed on time and in good quality," said the head of "United Shipbuilding Corporation" Vladimir Shmakov.

In August 2012 Atomflot – a sister company of Rosatom signed a 37 billion ruble ($1.2 billion) contract to begin construction of a "universal" vessel. According to the general director of Atomflot Vyacheslav Ruksha, the Icebreaker LK-60 Project 22220 vessel is likely to be called the "Arctic".

Powered by two “RITM-200” pressurized water reactors the “Arctic” is being built to generate 175MWe. Its efficiency and power allows the new model to crack ice fields 3 meters thick.

The Arctic will be granted the highest ice class – 9, meaning the ship will be able to break ice in the Arctic area all year round.

Vaygach atomic ice-breaker (RIA Novosti)

The new design will allow the icebreaker to alter its draught, or the depth of the loaded vessel in the water between 8.5 to 10.8 meters. This will enable the ship to navigate the shallow waters of Siberian rivers as well as the Arctic and tow ships of up to 70,000 tons.

Atomflot has also announced an 80 million ruble ($2.5 billion) tender for the construction of two similar class icebreakers which will be announced in the near future, and their delivery to the Navy is expected sometime between 2018 and 2020. The main objectives of these new icebreakers would be servicing the Northern Sea Route and carrying out various expeditions to the Arctic.

Constructions of new icebreakers are important for Moscow as Russia is continuing to collect data to expand its continental shelf borders in the Arctic. The US, Canada, Norway, and Denmark and Iceland have also announced claims to exclusive economic rights on the Arctic shelf. Russia argues that “Lomonosov Ridge” is an extension of Siberia’s shelf, and therefore belongs to Russia exclusively.
Russia, the only country with nuclear powered icebreakers, currently has 5 vessels cruising the Arctic, built between 1985 and 2007.

Russian companies also use "Vaygach" and "Taymyr", two shallow-draft nuclear-powered icebreakers to navigate Siberia’s frozen rivers.

The nuclear icebreaker Taimyr. (RIA Novosti/Igor Mikhalev)

Comments (12)


nick222 22.04.2014 16:56

Also Steve Michael, you forgot if west stops buying russian oil, then west economy is fkd as well. They can't afford that. cause there is no alternative to russian oil. The price of oil would double can the west afford that? Russia produces 10million barrels of oil a day, yes 10 million barrelllllllls where else would you get that much oil a day. So west has no choice but to buy the russian oil. period.


nick222 22.04.2014 16:52

Steve Michaels, you need to study some economics before you make some stpd comments. yes you are right the GDP per capita in Russia is 14000, but you don't know is that the goods and services are 2-3 times cheaper than US. You rent an apartment in Russia for 300-400 a month vs US 700-1200 depending where you live. same thing with clothing and Grocery. So there is something in economics called Purchase Power Parity, (which i believe u luck)meaning what you can get for your dollars. So 14000 multiplied by 3 = 42000. So 14000 in russia is roughly the same as 30000-42000 in US. go buy elementary economics text book.


bomlat -- 28.02.2014 22:52

Vitor Leur 05.01.2014 04:57

So on 14K one can live better in Russia than on 50K in the US. Yes, 32% of Russian export is oil and it is taxed by government.


Ba sed on the Purchase Power Parity (that takes the differences in the housing , local prices etcetera ) the US:Russian GDP difference is 2:1

It is a fairly good performance, considering that in the 90s the Russian economy collapsed thanks to the advices from the IMF and Worldbank.
In 2005 I envisioned that within 10 years the Russian nuclear fleet will disappear completely. So it is a very good result.

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