Let Pobedy: A Tour Of The World’s Most Powerful Nuclear Icebreaker

John Konrad
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January 20, 2011

Launched in Saint Petersburg Russia the NS Ural was not actually commissioned until 2007. By that time it had a new name, the NS Let Pobedy, and a new designation the largest nuclear icebreaker in the world.

The vessel is impressive with an overall length of 521 feet, capacity for 138 persons and service bays carrying two Ka-32 helicopters. But the size of this vessel barely seems to be enough to float it’s two greatest assets; a pair of nuclear reactors capable of producing over 55 megawatts of power and over 25,000 tons of displacement which, combined, allow the Pobedy to break through sheets of ice up 9 feet thick.

To put that in perspective just 15 inches of ice is needed to safely support a 10 ton truck while the USCGC Polar Sea, the first American surface vessel to reach the North Pole, has 6 feet of ice crush capability.

In all Russia built 10 purpose built nuclear icebreakers with seven classed for ocean service and two classed for river duty. The country also built a commercial nuclear icebreaker, the NS Yamal, which was planned to be converted to an exploratory drillship but is now being prepared for use as an arctic cruise ship.

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