Today the nuclear Russian icebreaker fleet is exactly 60 years old

Today, the nuclear Russian icebreaker fleet is exactly 60 years old. On December 3, 1959, the world's first nuclear-powered icebreaker "Lenin" was commissioned to the Ministry of the Navy of the USSR.

The project was developed in 1953 - 1955 at the Central Design Bureau. The chief designer was appointed shipbuilder Vasily Neganov. The nuclear installation was designed under the leadership of Igor Afrikantov.

The construction of the ship was assigned to the Admiralty Shipyard in Leningrad. Ship turbines were created at the Kirov Plant, the main turbogenerators for the icebreaker were built by the Kharkov Electromechanical Plant, and the propeller motors were built by the Leningrad Electrosila Plant.

The surface vessel was 134 meters long, 27.6 meters wide, 16.1 meters high, and a displacement of over 16,000 tons. The crew was more than 200 people.

In the past ten years, the polar regions of the country have completely unexpectedly become territories of priority development. The Arctic is a “subject of special concern” for the country's leadership not only because of the discovered new oil and gas fields. The Northern Sea Route is today a strategic project that will allow Russia to finally become a truly maritime power.

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Arctic LNG carrier «Yakov Gakkel» arrives in Sabetta, marks completion of Novatek’s Yamal fleet

The «Yakov Gakkel» in late November sailed into the Kara Sea  with course for the Sabetta LNG terminal in Yamal. About two weeks  earlier the ship had left the Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering  (DSME) yard in South Korea.

On 2nd December the ship was drifting in the waters of the Ob Bay, awaiting its first entry to Sabetta, information from the Northern Sea Route Administration shows.

With the entry into service of the «Yakov Gakkel», the  building of the Yamal LNG tanker fleet comes to completion. A total of  15 carriers are now shuttling to the remote Arctic terminal.

Like its 14 sister ships, the 299 meter long, 97,000 tons deadweight  vessel can carry up to 172,600 cubic meters of liquified natural gas. It  has ice class Arc7 which means that it can autonomously break through  about two meter thick ice.

The ships are designed by Aker Arctic, the Finnish company. The «Yakok Gakkel» is owned and operated by Teekay.

The sailing of the carrier to Sabetta comes as Novatek reaches a new  high in its Yamal production. According to the company, the remote Yamal  natural gas plant in the course of the first 11 months of the year  produced a total of 16,5 million tons.

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Russian Northern Fleet warships set off for deployment to Atlantic

A group of the Northern Fleet’s combat ships has left the Severomorsk naval base and set off for its long-distance deployment to the Atlantic Ocean, the Fleet’s press office reported on Tuesday.

"The deployment of the large anti-submarine warfare ship Vice-Admiral Kulakov and the large amphibious assault ship Kondopoga to accomplish assigned missions opens a whole series of long-distance deployments in the new training year as stipulated in the plan of the Northern Fleet’s activity," the press office quoted Fleet Commander Vice-Admiral Alexander Moiseyev as saying.

The Northern Fleet’s warships will soon complete their transit of the Barents Sea to enter the Atlantic Ocean, the Fleet’s press office said.

"Along the route of their deployment, the ships’ crews will be improving their sea skills and conducting a series of shipboard drills to practice various types of the naval group’s air defense during its transit by sea. Deck-based Ka-27 helicopters will make planned flights from the board of the large anti-submarine warfare ship Vice-Admiral Kulakov," the press office said in a statement.

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Russia is winning support for its claims on Arctic shelf, says chief negotiator

According to the country’s Ministry of Natural Resources, the 50th  session of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental  Shelf resulted in the approval of key points in the Russian submission  to the UN body.

The Commission agrees that the Lomonosov Ridge, the Medeleev Ridge,  as well as the Podvodnikov Basin, are underwater plateaus and natural  extensions of the Russian shelf, the Ministry informs.

The Commission session took place in the period 1 July to 16 August  2019. In the first part of that period did the sub-commission that  handles the Russian submission assemble. The Russian delegation was  headed by Deputy Minister Denis Khramov and included representatives of  the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defense, as well  as several research institutes.

The natural resource ministry has not responded to a request from the Barents Observer for additional information. 

Vast seabed

If the Commission decides fully in Russia’s favor, the country will  be able to claim sovereignty over 1.2 million square kilometers of  Arctic sea shelf that extends more than 350 nautical miles (about 650  kilometers) from the shore.


Øystein Jensen, an expert on the Law of the Sea at the Fridtjof  Nansen Institute in Norway, agrees it would be a major development.

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Rosatom To Invest $7bn in Arctic Shipping to Compete with Suez Canal

Russia’s Rosatom Group plans to spend $7  billion to become one of the world’s largest container shipping  operators. The company aims to offer container liner service along the  Arctic’s Northern Sea Route (NSR), a shortcut between Asia and Europe,  competing with the Suez Canal. 

Shipping traffic  along Russia’s Arctic coastline continues to be at an all-time high  reaching nearly 30 million tons in 2019. The vast majority of this  traffic comes from the transport of oil and gas and general cargo.  Container shipping, however, has been very limited, with Danish shipping  giant Maersk as the first company to send a container ship along the NSR  last year. Now, the state-owned Rosatom Group is in talks with VTB  Bank, one of the country’s largest banks, to secure $7 billion in funds  to acquire up to 55 ice-class container ships and upgrade port  facilities along the NSR, news agency Interfax reports

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The Russian Arctic covered the third radar "Resonance-N"

The Ministry of Defense has deployed the third Resonance-N radar in the Russian Arctic. The station, which is located on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, will take up combat duty in November this year. 

The third in the Russian Arctic radar "Resonance-N" deployed on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, it will take up combat duty in November this year. The station is capable of detecting cruise and ballistic missiles, hypersonic targets flying at speeds up to Mach 20, as well as aircraft created using stealth technology. The station is already on, configured and ready for combat use. Currently, an interdepartmental commission is working on its territory, preparing the transfer of the radar to the Northern Fleet air defense.

Resonance-N meter radar complex allows detecting, recognizing and providing target designation for aerodynamic air targets at a distance of 600 km, for ballistic targets - up to 1200 km, in height up to 100 km. A feature of the complex is the absence of rotating antennas in its design: a circular survey of the space is carried out electronically. This increases the reliability of locators, extends their life and reduces power consumption. The radar is specially upgraded to work in arctic conditions.

The first Resonance-N radar was put on combat duty in Russia five years ago. 

US calls for dialogue with Russian to prevent its leadership in the Arctic

Russia  has every opportunity to expand its influence in the Arctic, which is  unacceptable for the United States. That means it can entail not only a  serious crisis, but also a conflict.

This  conclusion was made by Rebecca Pincus, associate professor of strategic  and operational research at the United States Naval College.

According  to her, such a scenario is quite possible in conditions when the Arctic  region has been in the center of political and economic attention. At  the same time, she claims that none of the countries supposedly has  leadership in the Arctic, believing that only the United States can have  such a leadership.

In  this regard, Pincus recalled that back in 2002, the Russia-NATO Council  was formed, which in this situation can help Washington not miss its  chance in the Arctic. The expert suggests intensifying the dialogue with  Moscow through the North Atlantic Alliance in order to be able to  impose its own position in the Arctic direction.

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Russia looks to Japan icebreaking tankers to unlock Arctic gas

Japanese marine shipper Mitsui O.S.K. Lines is  breaking new ground in the Arctic Circle by teaming up with one of  Russia's largest natural gas producers to export the fuel through the  icy seas rather than pipeline, in a venture that promises lower costs  but also risks running afoul of American sanctions on Moscow.

In  September, Russia's Novatek and MOL announced plans to have icebreaking  LNG tankers transport the fuel along the Eurasian Arctic coastline  to floating storage units that will assist transfers of the cargo to  conventional tankers. The project is expected to cost as much as 160  billion yen ($1.47 billion) with operations to start by 2023.

A  joint venture will be established and the Japan Bank for International  Cooperation may offer financing  The Japanese company will make the  final decision on the investment next year, expecting to take a stake in  the project of at least 30%.

Right  now, the only way to transport LNG from the Arctic is by using  icebreakers, which are notorious for poor fuel efficiency and high  shipping costs.

To solve the problem, MOL and Novatek  will construct floating storage units that will transfer LNG from  icebreakers to conventional carriers. The terminals will be located at  Kamchatka, in Russia's far east, and in Murmansk, in the northwest. This  will minimize the use of the high-cost icebreakers.

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Catching up in the high north

Russian sailors and researchers explored five new islands  around the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean off Russia's  northern coast during an expedition in August and September.

The  islands, ranging in size from about 1,000 square yards to 65,000 square  yards, were first spotted in 2016 but not confirmed until the expedition  by Russia's Northern Fleet and the Russian Geographical Society.

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The Arctic Is Russia’s Key To LNG Dominance

The Arctic area could become the key driver of Russia’s natural gas  production in less than two decades, as it has the potential to produce 90 percent of all the gas produced in Russia by 2035, a senior government official said on Monday.

“The  Arctic’s contribution in the oil and gas sector will continue to grow,  we can really bring gas production to 90% of the national level and to a  quarter of all oil production in Russia,” Alexander Krutikov, Russia’s  Deputy Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East and the  Arctic, said, as carried by news agency TASS.

Krutikov was  presenting a strategy for the development of the Arctic regions in  Russia, in which energy and chemicals will play leading roles.

The  Arctic region is also key to Russia’s ambitions to be a dominant player  in the global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market, Krutikov said.

Russia  is supporting its companies with tax breaks, waivers on extraction  taxes, and other incentives in order to develop its Arctic areas.

According  to Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister and Presidential Plenipotentiary  Envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, government incentives will  allow the leading Russian oil and gas producers Novatek, Lukoil, and  Gazprom Neft to develop more LNG and chemicals projects in the Arctic.

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