Old nuclear ship sails into Barents Sea with subsidized cargo for the Far East

For the fourth year in a row, Rosatom engages the world’s only remaining civilian reactor-powered cargo vessel for cargo transport from St. Petersburg to Petropavlovsk in Russia’s Far East via the Northern Sea Route.
June 30, 2023


The “Sevmorput” embarked on the tour on June 24 and on Friday, the 35-years old ship enters the Barents Sea off the coast of North Cape.

The onboard cargo consists of more than 100 containers, metal structures, lumber, cranes and vehicles, Rosatom informs. Like previous years, the state-owned nuclear corporation underlines that the transport is subsidized from the federal budget with the hope of making a profit one day in the future.

Vyacheslav Ruksha is Director of the Northern Sea Route Directorate. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

“It is planned that the transition to the Vostochny port will take about 22 days,” says Rosatom Deputy Director Vyacheslav Ruksha. He adds that work is currently underway to find cargo for the return voyage from the Far East to St. Petersburg. “In autumn, the nuclear-powered container ship will make another round trip between the North-West and the Far East. Now flights are subsidized from the federal budget, but it is important to ensure the cost-effectiveness of transportation in the future,” Ruksha says. 

It was in 2020, dictator Vladimir Putin said “Okay, let’s work it out” when he discussed a possible boost in deliveries of fish from Kamchatka to the European part of the country. Later, the operator of “Sevmorput” loaded other kinds of cargo, aimed to boost transport along the Northern Sea Route to reach Putin’s goal to ship at least 80 million tons of Cargo across the Arctic from Europe to Asia by 2024.

Commissioned in 1988, the “Sevmorput“ is powered by one reactor of the KLT-40 type, similar to the reactor onboard the icebreakers “Taymyr“ and “Vaygach”.

After a 2015 upgrade and safety evaluation, the reactor’s service life was prolonged with 150,000 hours aimed at keeping the vessel in operation until 2024.



From St. Petersburg, the “Sevmorput” will sail the short-cut via the Arctic en route to Kamchatka in the Far East. Map: Barents Observer / Google Earth




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