Rosatom signs contract for new nuclear service ship

31 May 2023

Rosatomflot (part of Rosatom) and JSC Baltiysky Zavod (part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation - USC) have signed a contract for the construction of a multifunctional nuclear technology service vessel (MSATO - part of Project 22770). Baltiysky Zavod will be the sole executor of the contract. The MSATO is designed to perform a full range of work refuelling plants on existing nuclear icebreakers, as well as the Akademik Lomonosov floating NPP (FNPP) and future upgraded FNPPs. The document was signed by acting Atomflot General Leonid Irlitsa and Baltiysky Zavod General Director Yuri Gordienkov.

“The multifunctional nuclear support vessel will ensure the proper functioning of a modern icebreaking fleet,” said Viktor Evtukhov, State Secretary & Deputy Minister of Industry & Trade. “Financing for its construction is expected to cone 50% from the budget of the Russian Federation and 50% from the investment programme of Rosatom. The construction is part of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) Development Plan for the period up to 2035, approved by the order of the Russian Government and the planned completion date is 2029."

Irlitsa explained that currently refuelling of the previous generation of nuclear icebreakers is undertaken by the Imandra floating technical base. “This vessel was commissioned in 1980. We are moving forward. Three universal nuclear-powered icebreakers of the 22220 series are operating in the waters of the Northern Sea Route. To solve new problems, a multifunctional nuclear-technological service vessel is required. It will ensure refuelling of the reactors on the Project 22220 nuclear-powered ships.”

Alexei Rakhmanov, General Director of USC said the transition to full life cycle contracts is a modern trend in many industries. “Therefore, when building nuclear icebreakers today, we must simultaneously think about how to efficiently and economically carry out their maintenance in 10, 20, 30 years. In starting to build a multifunctional nuclear-technological service vessel, we want to ensure the long and safe operation of nuclear-powered icebreakers, floating nuclear power units and, in general, the entire Atomflot [nuclear fleet].”

The integrated development of Russia’s Arctic zone is a strategic priority. Increasing the volume of traffic along the NSR is of paramount importance for solving the tasks set in the field of transport and delivery of goods. Russia believes the development of this logistics corridor is ensured through the establishment of regular cargo transportation, the construction of new nuclear-powered icebreakers and the modernisation of the relevant infrastructure. Rosatom enterprises are actively involved in this work.

Project 22770 was developed by the Central Design Bureau Iceberg. MSATO is designed the following operations: unloading used fuel from the reactor units of the ships being serviced; loading fresh nuclear fuel; acceptance, storage and shipment of liquid radioactive waste generated during the operation of ship reactor installations, as well as in the process of refuelling; and placing used fuel assemblies in water in order to reduce residual heat release. The vessel can also transfer old used fuel assemblies into shipping containers for transfer to reprocessing, and decontaminate removable equipment of ship reactor plants and refuelling equipment. The MSATO will be 158.8 metres long and 26 metres wide with a draft of 7.5 metres, a displacement of 22,661 tonnes and a speed of12 knots. It is categorised as ice class Arc5.

Image: Vision of Project 22770's multifunctional nuclear technology service vessel (courtesy of Rosatom)

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