Russian Nuclear-Powered Fleet: 55th Anniversary

By MarEx 2014-12-04 17:13:00

The Russian nuclear fleet celebrated its 55th anniversary this week. 

On 3 December 1959, the Russian Register of Shipping (RS) documents were issued to the world’s first nuclear icebreaker Lenin. Today, the viability of the nuclear fleet, just as back in 1950’s, is secured by its incontestable advantages when compared with ships using fossil fuel: unrestricted area and endurance of navigation, no greenhouse gas emissions.

Since 1959, the RS Rules for the classification and construction of nuclear ships have been implemented during construction of all ships with nuclear power plants. The rules are systematically updated based on experience in ship construction and operation, the results of research and development and up-to-date requirements relating to hazardous production facilities and facilities employing nuclear power.

Ships with nuclear power plants are unique structures built with due regard to the latest scientific achievements. The first ever floating nuclear power station Akademik Lomonosov (FNPS) and the new universal nuclear icebreaker Arktika (project 22220) are currently under construction to RS class. The contracts for the classification under construction of another two icebreakers have been signed by RS.

During the construction of the icebreaker Arktika, RS experts perform survey of hull, machinery, equipment, devices, radio navigation and electrical facilities, automation equipment in compliance with the requirements of RS rules, RS-approved project documentation as well as with the applicable requirements of international codes and conventions. Upon the completion of construction, RS will continue survey of the icebreaker under operation.

Due to the new design, the icebreaker can vary draft and operate both in deep waters of western Arctic areas (Barents, Pechora and Kara Seas), and in shallow waters of river estuaries (Yenisey's mouth and the Gulf of Ob). The icebreaker will be capable of continuous proceeding ahead, breaking heavy ice of over 2m thick. The high-tech universal vessels of this project will be the largest and the most powerful icebreakers in the world.

The FNPS, fitted with a reactor facility of higher safety intended for the Far North and Far East, has been developed for the first time in Russia. The power station is completely self-contained and is intended for electric and heat energy generation and supply to shore-based structures. The power station may also operate under tropical conditions. The FNPS meets up-to-date standards for safety and ecological compatibility which removes restrictions on its location close to settlements.

Such power stations may be used extensively in regions suffering from power supply shortages. FNPS may also be used during extraction and sea transportation of hydrocarbons from the Arctic.

Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS) is the only classification society in the world to have civil nuclear-powered ships in its class. During the past 55 years RS has been engaged in the classification and in-service survey of all the civil ships with nuclear power plants starting from the first nuclear icebreaker Lenin to the new generation dual draft nuclear icebreaker Arktika.

The RS Branch for Nuclear Ships performs classification and survey of ships with nuclear power plants and nuclear support vessels during their construction and in service, as well as reviews and approves the designs of such ships, approves materials and products for these types of ships.

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