Russia Launches ‘World’s Largest’ Nuclear Icebreaker
Russia has unveiled Arktika, touted as the world’s largest and most powerful nuclear icebreaker, during a launching ceremony on June 16 at Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg.
The 173 meter long, 34 meter wide Arktika is the lead nuclear icebreaker ordered by Russia's Rosatom state nuclear agency for navigation through the Northern Sea Route, and more specifically the delivery of hydrocarbons to Asian markets.
“There are no analogs of the icebreaker such as the Arktika in the world,” said Rosatom CEO Sergey Kirienko at the launching ceremony. “This icebreaker is most up-to-date by its parameters; all technical capabilities which have never been used on other vessels are implemented here. The icebreaker Arktika means real new opportunities for our country.”
Designed by Iceberg Central Design Bureau, the vessel is engineered for piloting large-tonnage ships and leading caravans in the West Arctic (Barents Sea, Pechora Sea and Kara Sea) and features a double-draft design for use both in the Arctic and in estuaries of the Polar rivers (in particular, in shallow water of the Yenissei River (Dudinka) and the Gulf of Ob). The icebreaker can also be used for towing in ice and open water, rendering assistance to ships and carrying out rescue operations.
This ship, which is being constructed to the class of the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS class notation: КМ+ Icebreaker9  AUT2-ICS EPP), has a draught of 33,500 metric tons, will be able to break ice up to 2.9 meters thick and reach speeds of up to 22 knots. Metal for the body of the icebreaker was supplied by OJSC Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK).
The icebreaker will be fitted with double-reactor electrical power installation with the main steam source from the reactor plant of a new generation RITM-200 with the power of 175 MW being specially designed for this ship.
In the presence of several thousands of spectators at the ceremony, Chairwoman of the Council of Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Valentina Matvienko smashed a bottle of champagne to launching the icebreaker. “For many polar explorers, it is the meaning of life to develop the Arctic,” Matvienko said. “I am certain the icebreaker Arktika will give the new impetus to the development of the Arctic.”
“The first series-made icebreaker is already on the slipway and in September this year the keel of the second series icebreaker will be laid,” said General Director of FSUE Atomflot Vyacheslav Ruksha. “We are facing the task of commissioning the pilot nuclear icebreaker Arktika by the end of December 2017.”
Arktika’s keel was laid on November 5, 2013, and the vessel is set for sea trials in 2017.
Also in attendance for the launching were Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of Russia in North-West District Vladimir Bulavin; Governor of Murmansk Region Marina Kovtun; Alexei Rakhmanov, President of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC); Artur Chelengarov, special representative of the RF President for the international cooperation in the Arctic and the Antarctic; and Konstantin Palnikov, RS Director General, attended the ceremony on behalf of the Register; among others.
Power – 60 МВт (shaft)
Speed – 22 knots (at clean water)
Length – 173.3 m (160 m as per CWL)
Breadth – 34 m (33 m as per CWL)
Depth – 15.2 m
Draught – 10.5 m/8.65 m
Maximum icebreaking capability – 2.9 m
Full displacement – 33 540 t
Specified lifetime – 40 years