Russia Lays Keel for Giant Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker

Russia's '50 let Pobedy' is currently the world's largest icebreaker, displacing over 25,000 tons. Photo: Creative Commons
Russia’s ’50 let Pobedy’ is currently the world’s largest icebreaker, displacing over 25,000 tons. Photo: Creative Commons

 

Russia’s state-owned Baltic Shipyard (Baltijskiy Zavod-Sudostroyenie) has hosted the keel laying ceremony for a nuclear-powered icebreaker being built as part of a massive shipbuilding program undertaken by the Russian government.

The shipbuilding program, dubbed Project 22220, involves the construction of three nuclear-powered icebreakers to be delivered by 2020 that will be used further strengthen the country’s development in the Arctic and shipping capabilities along the Northern Sea Route.

The keel of the new icebreaker, known as Siberia, was laid down during a ceremony on Tuesday that coincided with Baltic Shipyard’s 159 year anniversary, making it one of the oldest shipyards in Russia.

The ceremony was attended by a number of high-ranking guests and government officials, including Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation Director General Sergey Kiriyenko, and United Shipbuilding Corporation Alexey president Rakhmanov.

Siberia is the first of two icebreakers to be built under a contract Baltic Shipyard signed with ROSATOM in May 2014 worth 84.4 billion rubles (US $1.7 billion). The lead ship in Project 22220, named Arktika (LK-60), has been under construction at the shipyard since November 2013.

ROSATOM reported previously that the pilot ship Arktika will be the world’s largest icebreaker and fitted with a new type nuclear power reactor, called RITM-200,. The icebreaker will displace 33,540 tons and will measure 173.3 meters long by 34 meters wide, and feature a double-draught design – 10.5 m and 8.55 m – which will allow their operation in both the Arctic Seas and estuaries of Polar rivers.

Delivery the three vessels is expected by 2020 – more specifically December 2017, December 2019 and December 2020, respectively.

The vessels will primarily be used to escort tankers carrying hydrocarbons from deposits located on the Yamal and Gydan Peninsulas, as well the Kara Sea shelf, to markets in Atlantic and Pacific countries, ROSATOM has said.

Baltic Shipyard is part of United Shipbuilding Corporation and specializes in the construction of nuclear-powered ships.