Arktika left the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard in St. Petersburg on 22 September and headed for Murmansk (Photo: Rosatom)The lead universal nuclear icebreaker "Arktika" left the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard in St. Petersburg on 22 September and headed for Murmansk, its port of registration. The journey will take about two weeks.

During its voyage, an inspection of the operation of the nuclear icebreaker in ice conditions will be carried out,” according to Mustafa Kashka, General Director of FSUE Atomflot.

Arktika will enter the ice, passing north of Franz Josef Land (83 degrees north latitude). This will make it possible to set up the electric propulsion system of the nuclear-powered ship in ice conditions.

“The creation of a modern nuclear icebreaker fleet of Russia capable of ensuring regular year-round and safe navigation throughout the entire water area of ​​the Northern Sea Route is a strategic task for our country,” said Vyacheslav Ruksha, deputy general director – director of Rosatom’s Northern Sea Route Directorate. “I am confident that the next project 22220 icebreakers will be built and will perform all the necessary tasks for Russia in the Arctic Ocean."

Arktika has already undergone sea trials in the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea, which were completed on 16 September. The operation of the mechanisms and equipment of the nuclear-powered vessel was checked, the electric power system was tested in sea conditions as well as the manoeuvring characteristics of the vessel under various draft options, the communications department of Rosatomflot noted.

The icebreaker is designed for independent pilotage of vessels, including large-capacity vessels, for leading convoys in the Western Arctic. The vessel's double-draft design allows it to be used both in Arctic waters and in the mouths of polar rivers, in particular in the shallow areas of the Yenisei (Dudinskoe direction) and the Ob Bay).

Main characteristics of the vessel are as follows: length – 173.3 metres (160 metres at design waterline); width – 34 metres (33 metres at design waterline); board height – 15.2 metres; power – 60MW (on shafts); speed – 22 knots (in clean water); draft – 10.5 metres/8.65 metres; maximum icebreaking capacity – 2.9 metres; displacement – 33 540 tons; estimated service life – 40 years; number of crew – 53.

The technical design was developed by the Aisberg Central Design Bureau in 2009. The icebreaker is equipped with a two-reactor power plant with the main source of steam from a 175MW new generation RITM-200 reactor plant, specially designed for this vessel.

RITM-200 is an innovative and completely domestic development from one of the oldest design bureaux of the nuclear industry – OKBM Afrikantov (part of Atomenergomash). The RITM-200 is lighter and more compact and so cheaper in terms of materials as well as needing less less space on the ship. Structurally, this is because the steam generators, which were previously outside the reactor, are now located directly inside it.

Photo: Arktika left the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard in St. Petersburg on 22 September and headed for Murmansk (Photo: Rosatom)