The "Lider". Illustration by

This nuclear-powered ship will break through two meter thick Arctic ice at 12 knots speed

An investment decision will be taken late 2018, leader of the Russian nuclear power company Rosatom tells Vladimir Putin.
March 01, 2018


It was icebreakers which was the prime interest of the Russian President as he this week met with Aleksey Likhachev, leader of state nuclear power company Rosatom.

And the president expressed special excitement about the «Lider», the projected super-powerful nuclear powered icebreaker capable of opening the thickest parts of the Arctic icepack all year round.

The “Lider”. Photo:

The «Lider» (project 10510) is several times more powerful than Russia’s current icebreakers. It has 120 MW capacity and can break through two meter thick ice at an unprecedented 10-12 knot speed. That is a commercially competitive speed, Likhachev underlined to the President.

«This unique icebreaker - which is without analogues in the world - will allow us to develop northern fields at a speed which meets the objectives of natural resource developers like Novatek», the Rosatom leader said, a press release from the Kremlin reads.

A decision on whether or not to build the vessel will be taken either late 2018 or early 2019, he maintained.

Rosatom believes traffic on the Northern Sea Route will multiply in only few years. By 2030, at least 70 million tons of goods per year will be shipped in the eastern direction towards the East Asian markets, company leader Likhachev says.


And not only the «Lider» is on the agenda. Several more icebreakers are needed, Rosatom makes clear.

«In order not to forget the the western direction and deliveries to Europe, we will need two more universal 60 MW icebreakers in additional to the three already under construction at the Baltic Yard, as well as a small fleet of medium-capacity icebreakers», Likhachev underlines.

Shipping in the Arctic was a key point also in Vladimir Putin’s speech to the national assembly on Thursday.

According to the president, traffic on the Northern Sea Route will reach 80 million tons by year 2025, a more than tenfold increase from 2017.

«The Northern Sea Route will be the key to the development of the Russian Arctic and the regions of the Far East [and] we will make it a global, competitive transport artery,» Putin said.

The «Lider» will have capacity to break through 4 meter thick ice and open more than 50 meter wide shipping lanes for ships with more than 100,000 ton deadweight.

The ship is developed by the Krylov State Research Center and the Iceberg Central Construction Bureau.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin previously argued that Russia will need a fleet of three «Lider» icebreakers.



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