Russia completes second reactor vessel for Arktika

09 May 2016

Russia's ZIO-Podolsk has completed assembling the integrated reactor vessel of the second of two 175 MWt reactors for the Arktika icebreaker. The procedure was completed in 19 days, three days fewer than for the same equipment for the first reactor.  

Second vessel for Arktika icebreaker - 460 (Rosatom)
Second reactor vessel for Arktika icebreaker (Image: Rosatom)

The vessel, which is of the LK-60YA series and part of Project 22220, will be able to break through ice 3 meters thick.

ZIO-Podolsk, a subsidiary of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, explained the complexity of the work, which it said involved welding pieces of large diameter - 830 mm - while holding them "in an orbital position".

The first reactor vessel has successfully completed hydraulic and welding tests and assembly of the reactor internals is to follow, the company said on 6 May.

In May last year, Rosatom director general Sergey Kirienko announced that Russia's trade and industry ministry had opened up funding for the development of a project to build the Leader nuclear-powered icebreaker. It is expected that Leader, which is of the LC-110YA series of icebreakers, will be able to break through ice up to 4.5 meters thick.

The icebreaker Lenin was the world's first nuclear-powered surface vessel (20,000 dwt) and remained in service for 30 years (1959-89), though new reactors were fitted in 1970. It led to a series of larger icebreakers, the six 23,500 dwt Arktika-class vessels, launched from 1975. These have two 171 MWt OK-900 reactors delivering 54 MW at the propellers and are used in deep Arctic waters.

The Arktika was the first surface vessel to reach the North Pole, in 1977. The seventh and largest Arktika class icebreaker - 50 Years of Victory (50 Let Pobedy) entered service in 2007. It is 25,800 dwt, 160 m long and 20m wide, and is designed to break through ice up to 2.8 metres thick.

For use in shallow waters such as estuaries and rivers, two shallow-draught Taymyr-class icebreakers of 18,260 dwt with one reactor delivering 35 MW were built in Finland and then fitted with their nuclear steam supply system in Russia. They are built to conform with international safety standards for nuclear vessels and were launched from 1989.

Larger third-generation 'universal' LK-60 icebreakers are being built as dual-draught (8.55 or 10.5m) wide-beam (34m) ships of 25,450 dwt or 33,540 dwt with ballast, able to handle 3 metres of ice.

In August 2012 the United Shipbuilding Corporation won the contract for the first new-generation LK-60 icebreaker powered by two RITM-200 reactors of 175 MWt each, delivering 60 MW at the propellers via twin turbine-generators and three motors. They would be built by subsidiary Baltijsky Zavod Shipbuilding.

Rosatomflot expects to have the pilot version commissioned in 2018 at a cost of RUR 37 billion ($562 million).

In January 2013, Rosatom called for bids to build two more of these universal icebreaker vessels (project 22220), for delivery in 2019 and 2020, and in May 2104 a contract for RUR 84.4 billion was signed with USC, the vessels to be built at the same shipyard. In August the same year Russian regulator Rostechnadzor licensed Baltijsky Zavod Shipbuilding to install the RITM-200 reactor units from OKBM Afrikantov for the pilot model. The keel of Arktica was laid in November 2013, and that of Sibir in May 2015.

A more powerful LC-110 icebreaker of 110 MW net and 55,600 dwt is planned, to be capable of breaking through ice up to 4.5 m thick. The first vessel will be the Leader with 50 m beam to match large tankers.

Russian experience with nuclear powered Arctic ships totalled about 300 reactor-years in 2009. In 2008, the Arctic fleet was transferred from the Murmansk Shipping Company under the Ministry of Transport to FSUE Atomflot, under Rosatom.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News