Rosatom plans more icebreakers | Polarjournal
At Baltic Shipyard, in St. Petersburg, the five icebreakers of Project 2220 are being built. However, this is unlikely to be enough. Experts are calling for two more ships of this class. (Photo: Anton Haas St. Petersburg)

In order to ensure regular year-round navigation along the North Sea route, it is necessary to build two additional icebreakers of the LK-60 class (Project 2220). This was mentioned by Vyacheslav Ruksha, head of the North Sea Route Directorate of Rosatom during the XI International Forum “Arctic – Present and Future” in St. Petersburg. He also noted that the state corporation Rosatom is ready to invest in the construction of liquefied natural gas (LNG)-based icebreakers on the basis of long-term contracts with customers. This was reported by a PortNews correspondent from St. Petersburg.

Vyacheslav Ruksha has been Deputy Director of Rosatom and Director of Rosatom’s Northern Sea Route Directorate since 2018. (Foto: Rosatom)

“Without the additional construction of two Project 22220 icebreakers, I don’t think the tasks envisaged by 2030 will be achievable,” Ruksha said.

“That means we have to limit the time of year-round navigation. We will conditionally extend it from the current eight months to nine, maybe ten, but stable year-round navigation will not work that way,” he continued.

The Rosatom spokesman also noted that the Arctic route should be traveled at good commercial speeds. Overcoming two meters of ice at a speed of 10-12 knots was to be ensured by building an icebreaker with a capacity of 120 MW (163,000 hp). Construction of the first such icebreaker (Project 10510), named “Lider”, is scheduled for completion in 2027.

Currently the leading universal nuclear-powered icebreaker of Project 22220 Arktika left the roadstead of the port of St. Petersburg on December 1, 2021, after repairs and completion of sea trials, and is on its way to the Northeast Passage. Now four more ships of the Project 22220 line are being built at Baltic Shipyard’s production facilities – these are the icebreaker Sibir, which is already undergoing test runs, and Ural, Yakutia and Chukotka.

The Project 10510 icebreaker currently under construction, named “Lider,” will use 163,000 horsepower to break through ice up to 4.3 meters thick. (Foto: Rosatom)

Even stronger icebreaker

The new icebreaker project 10510, named Lider, is a major leap forward in technology compared to the current “Arktika” fleet. While the Arktika and its sister ships are capable of breaking three-meter-thick ice, the new Leader icebreakers can break through a 4.3-meter-thick ice sheet and remain at sea for eight months without entering a port. The new icebreakers will have a 120-MW engine (163,000 hp), twice as powerful as the 60-MW output of the Arktika.

The dimensions of the new Lider icebreakers are also impressive. The ship will be over 200 metres long – a little less than two football pitches and around 40 metres high, the equivalent of a 13-storey apartment block.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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