New icebreaker may become nuclear power plant

Igor Kudrik, Thomas Nilsen
1997-11-19 12:00












New icebreaker may become nuclear power plant

The new nuclear powered icebreaker “Ural” may not be delivered to Murmansk Shipping Company as an icebreaker after all. It may be converted to a floating nuclear power plant, to serve at the coastal areas in Russia’s far eastern territories.

According to New Scientist, “Ural” will be converted to serve as a floating nuclear power plant. Given stable funding, it could be ready for this purpose by late 1998. Once converted, the vessel would be able to produce 25 megawatts of power.

The “Ural” was launched at the shipyard in St. Petersburg in 1993 and scheduled for delivery at Murmansk Shipping Company in 1994. Due to scarce funding, and a
reduction of operations in the Arctic regions of Siberia, the vessel has been delayed from the shipyard for several years. “Ural” has two reactors of KLT-40 design.

In 1996, the “Ural” was renamed as “50 Years Anniversary of Victory” (meaning 50
years since Russia’s victory in the second world war). Murmansk Shipping Company
(MSC), however, was sceptical to the new naming scheme. MSC operates the nuclear
powered ice-breakers on the Kola Peninsula.

–We fear that when the ice-breaker is finally put into operation, it would have to be renamed as “80 Years Anniversary of Victory” Michael Filippov, chief of the radiation safety department at MSC, said to Bellona Web.

–We never heard about any plans to convert the ice-breaker, so Murmansk Shipping Company is still waiting for the vessel – not a nuclear power plant, added Filippov.

According to Filippov, conversion of the ice-breaker could be a quite expensive
operation, as the electricity current would have to be adjusted for industrial parameters. In the meantime, only a minor part of the 27.5 million USD for completion of the vessel, promised for 1997, has arrived at St. Petersburg shipyard, which carries out the construction.

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Igor Kudrik

igor@bellona.no