Duma recommends repair of nuclear cruiser

Publish date: January 14, 1999

Written by: Thomas Nilsen

The Russian State Duma filed a resolution this week requesting the Government to preserve the Northern Fleet's nuclear-powered battle cruiser Admiral Ushakov. The cruiser has been laid up in Severomorsk since 1990.

Admiral Ushakov (former Kirov) was the first nuclear-powered surface warship in the Soviet Navy, commissioned in 1980. The Duma resolution states that Admiral Ushakov has had 18 years of good operation. But the vessel was only in active service in the Northern Fleet for 10 years. Most of the time since 1990, it has been idling at its homeport in Severomorsk. It was laid up due to major problems with the machinery, presumably in the turbine generators. Admiral Ushakov has two PWR reactors.

In order to put the vessel into operation again, the nuclear fuel must be changed. This seemingly simple requisite discloses a major drawback: Today, no naval yard in the Russian North can do the refuelling, due to a lack of base facilities for handling this kind of reactor.

The Duma resolution was initiated in response to the last fall Navy decision that Admiral Ushakov should be pulled out of service and scrapped because of funding shortfalls.

The repair cost is estimated to 1.5 billion roubles, for the period from 1999 to 2002. Besides, the Duma suggests unconventional forms of financing of the repairs on what they call "the legendary ship." The government should submit bills on total tax exception for all funds – from both private and legal persons – that are channelled through the State Duma in order to repair the Admiral Ushakov cruiser. The recommendation also contains a suggestion to call on the mass media and Russian citizens to collect funds for the repair, since people always helped their navy even in more difficult times in the history of their Homeland.