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Nuclear battle cruiser to be scrapped

Publish date: November 3, 1998

Written by: Igor Kudrik

The oldest of Russia's four nuclear-powered battle cruisers, the Admiral Ushakov, is to be scrapped shortly. Funding shortfalls to repair the ship is the main reason for the prompt decommissioning.

The Admiral Ushakov (former Kirov) is to be pulled out of service shortly and scrapped, reported ITAR-TASS. The ship was put into operation in 1980, its design lifetime expireing in 2010. The decision was prompted by lack of funds to repair the ship.

The Russian Navy has three Kirov-class nuclear-powered battle cruisers assigned to the Northern Fleet: the Admiral Ushakov, the Admiral Nakhimov and Peter the Great. The latter was taken into active service in March this year. The forth nuclear-powered battle cruiser of this class, the Admiral Lazarev, has its home base in the Pacific Fleet. Each vessel’ main power installation comprise two PWR type nuclear reactors.

The main problem with nuclear-powered battle cruisers is the lack of properly equipped naval bases and facilities for servicing the nuclear reactors. As a result, both the reactors and the auxiliary power installations onboard these ships have been worn out before their design lifetime expired. The lack of funding to repair these ships has led to their virtual inactivity in later years. An exception so far is Peter the Great which was commissioned recently, although the ship was under repairs one month after it was put to active service this spring. Another serious drawback is the lack of naval base facilities for refuelling the reactors. This issue affected the three oldest battle cruisers and will affect Peter the Great in the future.

Its is unclear which yard will defuel and scrap the Admiral Ushakov. The most apparent candidate is Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, Arkhangel’sk County. The yard is expecting another nuclear battle cruiser, the Admiral Nakhimov, to arrive later this year to undergo repairs. Thus, all the preparations, like deepening of the sea bed to allow vessels of this class to come into the yard’s water area, have been finished by now.

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