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Flagship of the Arctic: Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker Arctic has completed the first stage of sea trials


The Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika of project 22220 has successfully completed the first stage of sea trials, the Baltic Shipyard reported. The company's specialists tested the operation of standby diesel generators, communication systems and navigation. New icebreakers will be used to provide year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route. Vessels of this type have a more powerful power plant than their predecessors. According to experts, the possession of the world's largest icebreaker fleet creates a unique competitive advantage for Russia in developing the resources of the Arctic zone.

On December 14, the Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika completed the first stage of sea trials. This was reported in the press service of the Baltic Plant.

“On December 14, after the completion of the tests in the Gulf of Finland, the leading nuclear icebreaker“ Arktika ”, built at the“ Baltic Shipyard ”, returned to the construction wall of the plant,” the statement said.

The Baltiysky Zavod reported that during the tests, the program of the first stage was successfully worked out: verification of household, communication and navigation systems, as well as progress from standby diesel generators, was carried out. In during the tests, the icebreaker reached an independent speed of 6 knots.

The first stage of sea trials started on December 12. The general director of the Baltic Plant Alexei Kadilov said earlier that the readiness of the nuclear-powered ship is 95%. It is planned to complete all work before May 2020, after which the ship will go into operation.

  • Icebreaker "Arctic"
  • RIA News
  • © Nikita Graidin

First in the world

The implementation of project 22220 is aimed at the planned renewal of the nuclear icebreaker fleet of the Russian Federation and ensuring year-round navigation in the Arctic. Two more icebreakers of this type are under construction at the Baltic Shipyard: Siberia and Ural. In addition, in August 2019, Rosatom State Corporation and the plant signed a contract for the construction of two more vessels of this project.

Icebreakers of project 22220 will be the largest in the world. Their displacement will be 33.5 thousand tons, length - 173.3 m, width - 34 m, side height - 15.2 m, autonomy - about six months. Such vessels can break ice up to 2.8 m thick.

These vessels outperform their predecessors. The power of their nuclear power plant RITM-200 developed by OKBM them. I.I. Afrikantova (Nizhny Novgorod) is 60 MW (against 55 MW for Soviet-generation devices). Nuclear-powered icebreakers have an undeniable advantage over diesel-powered ones, since a power plant with a nuclear reactor allows it to move in ice, using only a few grams of fuel per day.

Another important advantage of the latest nuclear powered ships is the automation of control systems. Modern equipment has almost halved the crew - up to 75 people.

Another feature of the nuclear powered ships of this project is the draft. The ability to change the draft of the ship from 10.5 to 8.55 m allows them to walk both in deep water and in shallow water, which is important because Russian icebreakers regularly go to the mouths of Siberian rivers.

New icebreakers will replace the ships of projects 10520 and 10580 developed in the USSR. Russian President Vladimir Putin said in April that by 2035 Russia will have at least 13 heavy icebreakers, nine of which are nuclear.

“Three new nuclear icebreakers are being built in St. Petersburg: the Arctic, Siberia and the Urals. In total, by 2035, the Russian Arctic fleet will have at least 13 heavy linear icebreakers, including nine nuclear icebreakers, ”said the Russian leader.

It is worth noting that today, Russia is the only country in the world operating nuclear icebreakers.

In an interview with RT, military expert Yuri Knutov emphasized that Russia is constantly increasing the level of development of its technologies, including in terms of the development of ships designed to operate in the Arctic regions.

“Moreover, it is now approaching the stage when new-generation nuclear submarines, as well as ice-breaking class ships and battleships, will be equipped with non-reloadable channels reactors that operate without interruption during their service. The shape of the vessel will also be changed, which will allow the use of new technology, with which it is possible to break through ice of a greater thickness than icebreakers of Soviet construction can ", said Knutov.

Russia has the largest and most experienced icebreaker fleet, recalled in a conversation with RT the head of the Department of Political Science and Sociology of the Russian University of Economics. Plekhanova Andrey Koshkin.

“We have pretty good traditions in shipbuilding, especially icebreakers, in creating appropriate engines that run on nuclear fuel. Today, Russia is a flagship in the Arctic latitudes, ”said the political scientist.

Arctic Frontiers

The Director General of Rosatom State Corporation Alexei Likhachev previously spoke about the goals that the nuclear icebreaker fleet faces. In particular, it is planned to achieve year-round use of the Northern Sea Route (NSR). According to Likhachev, this will significantly improve the quality of life in the surrounding areas.

The Northern Sea Route is a transport artery that runs along the Arctic coast of the Russian Federation. Currently, the NSR administration provides navigation in the water area from Cape Dezhnev in the east to the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the west. The property fund of the Northern Sea Route is managed by the Rosatom Corporation, and the Ministry of Transport performs legal regulation and oversight functions.

Russian Deputy Minister for Development of the Far East and the Arctic, Alexander Krutikov, speaking on December 6 at the Arctic: Present and Future forum, said that by 2035 the volume of traffic along the Northern Sea Route will increase by almost eight times, reaching 160 million tons. For comparison, in 2018, this indicator was at around 19.7 million tons.

Russia's long-term plans are to adapt the Northern Sea Route to international transit.

According to Yuri Knutov, recently not only Russia, but also other powers have been stepping up to develop the Arctic latitudes, showing interest in the NSR, because the Arctic has huge reserves of natural resources.

“The technologies that existed 30-50 years ago did not allow us to approach these reserves, but now everything has changed. When the cheaper sources of resources are exhausted, the question will arise about the exploitation of the shelf, which for tens, maybe hundreds of years will meet Russia's needs for raw materials and rare earth metals, ”the expert explained.

A similar point of view is shared by Koshkin.

“We can’t stop there, because the Arctic states have begun to actively develop the territories that are under their influence, due to the fact that many non-Arctic states would like to participate in the development of hydrocarbon materials. In the Arctic shelves are reserves of natural resources, which are in demand today in many economically developed countries, in particular China, Australia, India, ”he said.

Yuri Knutov drew attention to the fact that it is the icebreaking fleet of Russia that provides it with a unique advantage in the development of the Arctic latitudes.

“Russia has an advantage in terms of equipping its icebreaking fleet over other countries that have access to the Arctic Circle. Today, the United States has only two operating icebreakers, compared to which even Soviet icebreakers look more perfect and modern. If we consider the icebreakers that Russia is building now, then they are an order of magnitude better than that of the Americans, ”the expert emphasized.

Koshkin noted that the creation of new icebreakers is only part of the tasks that must be solved for the development of the NSR.

“Russia must provide itself with appropriate ports, means for escorting ships, and equip the infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route. Moreover, such vessels as the Arctic, Siberia and the Urals will certainly allow it to make the NSR more attractive for carriers, ”the political scientist concluded.

Source: russiart

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