Russia plans next two nuclear icebreakers

30 October 2019

Atomenergomash, the engineering division of Russia’s Rosatom, has signed a contract for the supply of RITM-200 reactor units for two more nuclear icebreakers in Project 22220. The contract was signed between Atomenergomash subsidiary OKBM Afrikantov and the Baltic Shipyard.

The launch of the Ural icebreaker in May (Image: Rosatom)

The new vessels will join the LK-60 icebreakers Arktika, Sibir and Ural, which are dual-draught (8.55 or 10.5m) wide-beam (34m) ships of 25,450 dwt or 33,540 dwt with ballast, able to handle 3m of ice. They each have two RITM-200 reactors of 175 MWt each, delivering 60 MW at the propellers via twin turbine-generators and three motors. Arktika is expected to enter operation in 2020, Sibir in 2021 and Ural in 2022.

Ural was the last of the three to be unveiled - on 25 May at the Baltic Shipyard in Saint Petersburg. At the launch ceremony, Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov said Russia planned to add two more project 22220 ships to its nuclear icebreaker fleet by 2027, a contract for their construction was subsequently signed in August between Rosatomflot and the Baltic Shipyard.

"Last year, we successfully completed the production of reactor units for the first three icebreakers of the RITM-200 project, which has been a unique endeavour for our scientists, enabling serious improvements to the design of nuclear-powered ships, to make them more powerful and efficient," Andrey Nikipelov, general director of Atomenergomash, said.

"I'm certain that our cooperation, joint experience and competencies will make a significant contribution to the development of the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route," he added.

An RITM-200 reactor has an "energy-efficient integrated layout", which places the main equipment directly inside the casing of the steam generating unit, Rosatom said. This make the units twice as light, one-and-a-half times more compact and almost twice as powerful than units in the KLT icebreaker fleet. One fuel load for a RITM-200 unit is equivalent to 540,000 tonnes of Arctic diesel fuel, it said, with fuel reloads required once every seven years.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News