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“Arktika” could become museum

The icebreaker "Lenin" has become a popular museum in Murmansk. Now "Arktika" could become the same in St. Petersburg. Photo: Trude Pettersen

“Arktika”, the first surface ship in the world to reach the North Pole, could be made into a museum in St.Petersburg. The icebreaker reached the North Pole 35 years ago, on August 17, 1977.

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 “Arktika” is the oldest nuclear-powered icebreaker in Atomflot’s fleet. It was launched in 1975 and taken out of service in 2008. The vessel is planned to be scrapped by 2020, along with two other old nuclear-powered icebreakers, “Sibir” and “Rossiya”.

Some people are now fighting to avoid that the first icebreaker in the world to reach the North Pole should end up as scrap. They are hoping that the vessel can be made into a museum in St. Petersburg.

The world’s first nuclear-powered icebreaker, the “Lenin”, was made into a museum in 2009 and has become a very popular landmark in downtown Murmansk.

Head of the Russian State Museum of Arctic and Antarctic in St. Petersburg Biktor Boyarsky says that his museum and other Polar societies are ready to contribute to saving the vessel.  

Atomflot would also like to see the famous icebreaker being saved for future generations, but do not have the means for it. According to Deputy General Director of Atomflot Stanislav Golovinsky, the nuclear icebreaker fleet receives 1.26 billion rubles (app €32 million) annually from the state budget. To have “Arktika” made into a museum and transported to St. Petersburg will cost ‘tens of millions of rubles’, Golovinsky says to RIA Novosti. But to scrap a nuclear-powered icebreaker costs a lot more – about 1.9 billion rubles.