Thursday, July 19, 2018

The monster-icebreaker that might reshape Arctic shipping

From The Barents Observer:

Yards fight for the right to build the nuclear-powered vessel that will be able to break through 4 meter ice and open wide shipping lanes across Arctic waters. But the biggest resource developers in the region might not really want it.
The 120 MW icebreaker «Lider» is not only super-powerful, but also super-expensive, and questions have been raised about Russia’s ability to cover the bill.

However, the country’s authorities continue to assure that the vessel will be built.

Several yards are now competing over the right to build the ship. On the one hand is the Baltic Yard in St.Petersburg, which might ultimately join efforts with the nearby Severnaya Yard. On the other hand is the Zvezda, the new yard under construction near Vladivostok, newspaper Kommersant reports.

A decision is expected soon. Russian nuclear power company Rosatom earlier this year confirmed that an investment decision will be taken late 2018 or early 2019.

«This unique icebreaker - which is without analogues in the world - will allow us to develop northern fields at a speed which meets the objectives of natural resource developers like Novatek», Rosatom leader Aleksey Likhachev told President Vladimir Putin in a meeting in the Kremlin.

The 209 meter long and 47 meter wide vessel, designed by company Iceberg, has a draft of 13 meter and will be able to break through four meter thick ice at 12 knots speed. It will be powered by two RITM-400 reactors with a total 120 MW capacity.  It has unlimited range and can operated round-the-year, Rosatom informs in a presentation of the vessel.

The ship is needed for Russia to strengthen its presence in the global markets of liquified natural gas, as well as to provide for Arctic expedition, Vyacheslav Ruksha, leader of Rosatomflot told RIA Novosti. The powerful head of the company that manages the country’s fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers maintains that the «Lider» will enable Russia to open a «direct access» to the Asian-Pacific countries....MORE