Rosatom launches nuclear icebreaker to open Arctic route

Rosatom State Atomiс Energy Corporation launched in St Petersburg on 25  May the nuclear-powered arctic icebreaker Ural, aiming to ensure  all-year round navigability of the Northern Sea Route (NSR).

“The  Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of  opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Rosatom Director General Alexey  Likhachev said at the launching ceremony. “Our goal for 2024 is for more  than 80 million metric tonnes of  shipments to pass through the NSR. We also plan to add two more projects  to our nuclear icebreaker fleet by 2027. The contract for construction  of these icebreakers is expected to be signed by the end of this  August,” he added. The 80 million metric tonne target would consist  mainly of natural gas (47 million tonnes), coal (23 million tonnes), oil  (5 million tonnes), heavy industrial goods such as machinery (5 million  tonnes) and 1 million tonnes of metals.

 The 173 metre-long Ural is equipped with two highly efficient and  compact RITM-200 nuclear reactors on board, capable of generating up to  350MW combined, allowing the ship to break through ice as thick as 3  metres, Rosatom said, adding that RITM-200 type reactor makes its world  debut on the Ural as well as on its sister vessels from the 22220  project, the Arktik and the Sibir, before Rosatom deploys it in floating  and landlocked nuclear power plants.

The Project 22220 vessels  including the Ural feature a dual-draught design, Rosatom said, adding  that ballast tanks inside its hull can be adjusted easily to alter the  ship’s draught depending on whether the vessel needs to navigate the  Arctic sea or shallow river estuaries.

The Russian nuclear giant  said the government has given Rosatom the lead in the development of the  Northern Sea Route infrastructure. The total amount of funding for the  NSR development project is 734.9 billion roubles for six years. Up to a  third of that, 274 billion roubles, will be provided from the government  budget. The remaining two-thirds, over 460 billion roubles, will be  funded by investors, including Rosatom, Russian state oil major Rosneft  and Russia’s largest private gas producer Novatek and others, who are  interested in transporting cargo along the Arctic sea route.


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