Nuclear icebreakers

The world’s first nuclear icebreaker Lenin was in operation from 1959 until 1989. The second generation of icebreakers including Sibir (taken out of operation in 1993), Arktika, Rossiya, Sovetsky Souyz and Yamal, are the most powerful. The last icebreaker of the second generation, called 50 Let Pobedy, was launched in 1994 at the Baltic shipyard in St.Petersburg; however, the continuing lack of funds indicates that this icebreaker will be put into operation until 2005. The name of the icebreaker means the 50th Anniversary of the Victory [in World War II], and it may be renamed into 60 Let Pobedy when completed.

Taimyr and Vaigach, belong to the third generation of nuclear icebreakers, and were built in Finland. The reactor plant was installed at the Baltic shipyard in St. Petersburg. The two vessels are used for the northern sea-route, including shallow waters (whereby the waterline gauge is 8.1 meters). However, both vessels are mostly used on the Yenisey River to the river port Dudinka.

The Russian Transport Ministry has begun to plan the construction on a new generation of the massive, powerful nuclear powered icebreakers to be put into operation after 2010.

The nuclear-powered container ship Sevmorput is used to transport barges and containers to the coastline of the northern Siberia (here the waterline gauge is 10.7 m), and the ship is able to force through ice with a maximum thickness of one meter. The Sevmorput was the first nuclearpowered vessel constructed according to the international convention safety requirements for nuclear cargo ships.

Sevmorput can carry 1,336 standard 20-foot containers or 74 lighters. The lighter is a special type of seagoing transportation vessel that is utilised for loading and unloading operations in areas where the harbour waters are too shallow to accommodate the container ship, thereby necessitating operations in the open sea.

According to the original plans (in Soviet Union times), the container ship was also to be used for international transport, and to that end, Sevmorput did indeed sail a number of voyages to Vietnam in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the late 1990s the container ship has only been used for journeys between Murmansk and Dudinka. However, in the most recent years, Sevmorput has been laid up at Atomflot. Assuming that refuelling and the repair operations otherwise go according to plan, Sevmorput will be nonetheless still be laid up at Atomflot in 2001 because of financial problems, a situation that is expected to last until 2003.

Name of vessel (operational since) Place of construction Length
max, m
Width
max, m
Weight, tons Reactor capacity, MWt Reactor type
Lenin
(1959)
St.Petersburg,
Admiralty shipyard
134.0 27.6 19,420 3×90
(2×159)*
OK-150
(OK-900)*
Arktika
(1975)
St.Petersburg,
Baltic shipyard
148.0 30.0 23,000 2×171 OK-900A
Sibir
(1978)
St.Petersburg,
Baltic shipyard
148.0 30.0 23,000 2×171 OK-900A
Rossiya
(1985)
St.Petersburg,
Baltic shipyard
148.0 30.0 23,000 2×171 OK-900A
Taimyr
(1988)
Helsinki, Wartsila Marine and St.Petersburg, Baltic shipyard 151.8 29.2 21,000 1×171 KLT-40M
Sevmorput
(1988)
Kerch,
Zaliv yard
260.1 32.2 61,000 1×135 KLT-40
Sovetsky Soyuz
(1989)
St.Petersburg,
Admiralty shipyard
148.0 30.0 23,000 2×171 OK-900A
Vajgach
(1990)
Helsinki, Wartsila Marine and St.Petersburg, Baltic shipyard 151.8 29.2 21,000 1×171 KLT-40M
Yamal
(1992)
St.Petersburg,
Baltic shipyard
148.0 30.0 23,000 2×171 OK-900A
-The first nuclear power plant on board Lenin had 3 reactors; after modernisation in 1970 two new reactors were installed.

Table: The main parameters of Russian nuclear-powered vessels

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