Shipyard wins giant nuclear icebreaker tender

07 August 2012

The Baltiysky Zavod shipyard has won the tender to build Russia's first LK-60 model nuclear-powered icebreaker. The vessel - the largest of its kind - is scheduled to be delivered to RosAtomFlot by the end of 2017.

LK-60 class icebreaker (RosAtomFlot)
An artist's impression of the massive LK-60 icebreaker (Image: RosAtomFlot)

RosAtomFlot announced an open tender in late June for the construction of the first LK-60 icebreaker. Baltiysky Zavod, which was reportedly the only bidder who submitted an offer, has now been named as the winner of the tender.

According to the Barents Observer, a 37 billion rubles ($1.2 billion) contract for the vessel's construction will be signed in September and work on building the ship could begin by the end of this year.

The keel of the vessel is planned to be launched in November 2015. Following outfitting of the ship, sea trials are scheduled for August 2017, with ice trials starting in November 2017. It will be delivered to the port of Murmansk by 30 December 2017.

The as-yet unnamed icebreaker will be 173 metres long and 34 metres wide, some 14 metres longer and 4 meters wider than the current biggest icebreaker, the 50 Years of Victory. The displacement of the new vessel will be about 33,540 tonnes. It will have a draught of between 8.5 and 10.5 metres. With a crew of 75, it will be capable of breaking through ice up to 2.8 metres thick at a speed of between 1.5 and 2 knots.

The LK-60 will be fitted with two RITM-200 pressurized water reactors to power a three shaft propulsion arrangement. The reactor design was developed by OKBM Afrikantov and integrates some main components into the reactor vessel and produces 60 MWe for the motor-driven propeller. The same design is foreseen as being incorporated in floating nuclear power plants. The reactor would operate on fuel enriched to less than 20% uranium-235 and require refuelling every seven years over a 40-year lifespan.

RosAtomFlot refers to the LK-60 as being 'universal' as it can be used both in the open sea and on rivers. The new icebreaker is planned to be used in the western Arctic region, including in the Barents, Pechora and Kara seas, as well as in the shallower waters of the Yenisei River and Ob Bay. During the summer and autumn months it will operate in the eastern Arctic region.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News