Russia begins manufacture of reactors for world’s largest icebreaker

21 February 2022

Russia’s ZiO-Podolsk  (part of Rosatom's mechanical engineering division Atomenergomash) has started manufacturing equipment for the nuclear icebreaker "Rossiya", the lead vessel of project 10510, under construction at the Zvezda shipyard in the Far East, and expected to be commissioned by 2027.

Rossiya is the first of three vessels planned to be built by 2033 under the project. They will be operated by Atomflot (part of Rosatom) which operates Russia's fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers. The plant has received the main part of forgings for the manufacture of the two RITM-400 reactor units which will power Rossiya. Currently, work is underway on machining the parts. 

JSC Afrikantov OKBM in 2021 began manufacturing key equipment for the steam generating unit of the RITM-400 reactor plant. In particular, the production of elements of the reactor cover, a block of pipes and devices, drives of the compensating group of the protection control system, an internal shaft, and electric pumps is underway. By the end of 2022, the production of the element base of steam generator cassettes for the RITM-400 reactor plant will also be completed.

The RITM-400 reactor plant is an evolutionary development of the RITM-200 with an increase in thermal power up to 315 MW, which is superior to current shipboard reactor plants. The overall supplier of the nuclear plant is OKBM Afrikantov. 

The RITM-400 is 1.8 times more powerful than the RITM-200, which the current generation of icebreakers constructed under project 22220. The lead vessel of that series, the Arktika, was formally commissioned and began operation in October 2020. The other Project 22220 icebreakers - Sibir, Ural, Yakutia and Chukotka - are being built built by the Baltic Shipyard and will the mainstay of Russia’s icebreaking fleet in the near future. Sibir  arrived at its home port of Murmansk in January 2022.

Project 22220 icebreakers are 173.3 metres long overall and 160.0 metres  at the design waterline. Maximum width  is 34 metres. At the original minimum draught of 8.5 metres, the icebreakers have a displacement of 25,540 tonnes while the full load displacement at design draught is 33,530 tonnes. 

The Project 10510 icebreakers, with more powerful RITM-400 reactors, will be built according to the technical design of the Iceberg Central Design Bureau. They will be 209 metres long with a maximum width of 47.7 metres. Displacement during draft along the design waterline will be almost 70,000 tons. They will be able to break through ice up to 4.3 metres thick and lay a channel up to 50 metres wide. They will be able to provide year-round navigation along the Northern Sea Route and conduct expeditions to the Arctic, including large-capacity vessels.

The RITM-400 reactor is also promising for use on optimised floating NPPs (FNPPs) and this year Atomenergomash plans to start developing a technical design for FNPP with RITM-400 for use in Arctic conditions.

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