LK-60 nuclear icebreaker "Arktika" is put on the water in St.Petersburg in 2016. Photo: gov-murman.ru

More nuclear power for Russia’s icebreaker fleet

A fleet of five LK-60 icebreakers will be built to keep waters open for the quickly growing Russian Arctic shipping.
November 29, 2018

A fourth and fifth vessel of the powerful LK60 class (project 22220) are needed for support of vessels shuttling to the major coal project in Taymyr and the Payakha oil field in the Yenisey river delta, Atomflot leader Vyacheslav Rukhsha said in a conference this week.

The vessels come in addition to the three similar ships that already are under construction at the Baltic Shipyard in St.Petersburg

The two additional vessels will help secure round-the-year shipments on the Northern Sea Route for the next 25-30 years, Ruksha made clear.

The statement comes after Rosatomflot’s deputy director Mustafa Kashka in the recent Murmansk Business Week confirmed that a final decision on the vessels would be taken «in the course of 2018.» According to Kashka, the investments needed for their construction will provided thanks to long-term contracts with the mineral extracting companies, Rosatom informs.

According to the company, the two powerful ships will cost 100 billion rubles, of which 45 billion will be provided by the federal budget, 10 billion by Rosatom itself and the remaining 45 billion by credits, PortNews informs.

The Baltic Yard started construction of the first LK-60 icebreaker, the «Arktika», in 2013. The building of the second vessel of the kind, the «Sibir», was launched in 2015, while the «Ural» was launched in 2016. The vessels are now reported to be ready for sailing in 2019, 2020 and 2022 respectively.

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A fourth vessels of the class was mentioned by President Putin in his annual major press conference in 2017. But few knew about the plans also for a fifth ship.

The new class of icebreakers come as shipping on the Northern Sea Route is on quick increase. In 2017,  more than 10 million tons of goods were shipped on the route, and figures for 2018 indicate a year-on-year increase of as much as 80 percent.

The LK-60 (project 22220) is the most powerful icebreaker in the world. It is equipped by the RITM-200 nuclear propulsion unit with two 175 MW capacity reactors and is able to break through three meter thick ice. The ships will be 173 meters long and 34 meters wide. They will be based in Murmansk as part of the state-owned Rosatomflot fleet of nuclear icebreakers.

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