Russia Plans Super-Icebreaker
Russia is designing a super-icebreaker capable of navigating through ice four to five meters thick.
The vessel, expected to have a 110 MW power unit, was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said at a conference held last week in Moscow by the Russian International Affairs Council.
“It has been decided to start the design stage of a new project, a nuclear powered Leader-class icebreaker with a 110MW power unit. The decision to launch its construction will be taken soon,” Rogozin said.
Local media reports Rogozin saying: “We will be able to use the Northern Sea Route year-round and in any weather conditions, breaking through the ice not only for existing Arctic vessels but also for the largest gas carriers.”
Rogozin said the government viewed the Arctic as a testing ground for innovation and that new materials and fuel designed for use in extremely low temperatures will be tested in the Arctic in the next few years.
Back in 2010, Vladimir Putin announced that Russia would build at least three new-generation nuclear icebreakers between 2012 and 2020.
During the winter, the ice along the Northern Sea Route varies in thickness from 1.2 to 2.0 meters (3.9 to 6.5 feet). The ice in central parts of the Arctic Ocean is on average 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) thick. Arktika-class nuclear-powered icebreakers can force through this ice at speeds up to 10 knots.