Last voyage for nuclear icebreaker

07 May 2009

Lenin docked (Sergey Eshenko, STR))


The world's first nuclear-powered icebreaker, Lenin, has been permanently docked in Murmansk harbour.


In coming months, the ship will be converted to an information centre and Museum of the Arctic Region and the Development of the Northern Sea Route. It had previously been undergoing decommissioning at AtomFlot's facility about two kilometres away.


Lenin entered service in 1957 as the world's first cilivian nuclear-powered vessel. It featured three OK-150 pressurized water reactors producing 90 MW each, but after operational problems including a partial core melt in 1965 the units were replaced by two OK-900 units producing 171 MW each. Lenin operated the Northern Sea Route until 1989, breaking ice for container ships to follow in its path.


Lenin power systems (RIA Novosti, STF)
An engineer amid power systems aboard the Lenin in 1959


Later icebreakers were of the Arktika class, named after the lead vessel of that type, which became the fist surface ship to reach the North Pole in 1977 and the first civilian ship to operate for a whole year without docking in 2000. Arktika was retired in October 2008. The latest of the nuclear icebreakers, 50 Lyet Pobedy (50 Years of Victory), was commissioned in 2006. 


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