Arktika set out on its first Voyage in November (Photo: Rosatomflot)Assembly of the first reactor for Russia’s Yakutia nuclear icebreaker has begun, Atomenergomash, part of Rosatom’s engineering division said.

Yakutia is the fourth (third serial) universal nuclear icebreaker of project 22220. At the ZiO-Podolsk enterprise (part of Atomenergomash), the main stage of production of the first vessel for the RITM-200 reactor unit is underway with specialists making the first main weld. This will connect the flange and the shell. The welded joint is made using a special technology developed at the enterprise, which has no analogues anywhere else in Russia, Atomenergomash noted.

For welding, which will last 4.5 days, the metal is heated to 200 degrees C. To obtain a seam with a thickness of 150mm, almost 600kg of metal wire will be used. After thermal and mechanical treatment, radiographic and ultrasonic testing of the welded joint will be performed. Using this technology, two more seams will be made on the reactor vessel, which will connect the bottom and two half-shells to each other.

For the construction of the fourth and fifth icebreakers of project 22220 Yakutia and Chukotka, two RITM-200 reactors, two support rings and 16 tanks will be manufactured at Zio-Podolsk. The total weight of the manufactured equipment will be 962t. According to the contract, delivery of equipment for Yakutia should take place in March-April 2022, and for Chukotka in December 2023 – January 2024.

Problems for Arktika

Meanwhile, The Barents Observer has reported that Russia’s Arktika nuclear icebreaker has had to abort its maiden Arctic voyage.

Arktika set off from Murmansk on 14 November for a three-week assignment to the Northern Sea Route.  Rosatomflot said on 16 November that the icebreaker would operate along the Northern Sea Route until mid-December.

However, according to the Barents Observer, online ship tracking service shows the path of the icebreaker sailing out the Kola Bay on a steady course towards the Kara Sea. However, halfway across the Barents Sea, the ship made a 180 degree and sailed back on a north-western course before turning south on 17 November directly towards Murmansk.

Asked about the hastily return to port, Head of the Communication department with Atomflot, Evgeny Sviridov told The Barents Observer that “Staff is conducting adjustment works onboard”. He gave no further details but said: “The icebreaker will leave the port of Murmansk in the nearest future.”

Arktika is the first of five vessels of the 22220 Project. Construction of Ural and Sibir are underway at the Baltic shipyard in St. Petersburg, while keel-laying of Yakutia took place in May.

Photo: Arktika set out on its first Voyage in November (Photo: Rosatomflot)