New icebreaker might enter service in three years

Publish date: February 3, 2000

Written by: Igor Kudrik

The Baltic shipbuilding yard plans to complete construction of a new nuclear powered icebreaker in three years given $25 million annually is available.

A new nuclear powered icebreaker called “50 Year Victory Anniversary” (named after the victory in the Second World War) might join Russia’s civilian nuclear fleet in the Arctic in three years, Business St. Petersburg news agency reported.

The construction of the ninth Russian nuclear icebreaker was launched back in 1989 at the Baltic shipyard in St. Petersburg and was due to enter service in 1994. Due to scarce funding, and a reduction of cargo shipments in the Arctic regions of Siberia, the construction has been virtually frozen the past years. “50 Year Victory Anniversary” has two reactors of KLT-40 design.

This year, the Russian government has pledged to earmark around $3.5 million annually to complete the construction of the vessel. But the manager of the shipyard, Oleg Shulyakovsky, says it is still not enough. According Mr. Shulyakovsky, around $25 million is required annually to complete the icebreaker in three years. Otherwise, as some sceptics put it, the name of the icebreaker would have to be changed to “80 Year Victory Anniversary.”

Russia has 8 nuclear powered icebreakers and one nuclear lighter ship – all of them stationed at the Atomflot base in Murmansk and operated by Murmansk Shipping Company. The first nuclear powered icebreaker Lenin was taken out of service in 1989 and will be converted into a museum if funding is at place.