No more nuclear power for Arctic tourists

Tourists will soon have to make it to the North Pole without Russian icebreakers.

As commercial shipping in icy waters picks pace, the Russian nuclear powered icebreaker fleet will no longer conduct tourist visits to the North Pole.


Over the years, exclusive North Pole expedition tailored for wealthy tourists have been a solid source of income for Rosatomflot, the state icebreaker company. Now, however, the nuclear Arctic tours are coming to an end. Rosatomflot will in the summer of 2015 conduct its last six tourist voyages to the top of the world.

The main reason for the decision is the increase in commercial shipping along the Northern Sea Route and the subsequent need for icebreaker assistance, reports.

As previously reported by BarentsObserver, trans shipments along the route in 2013 amounted to 1,35 million tons and that figure is expected to increase significantly over the next years.

In addition to the transshipments come sea traffic related to industrial activities in the region, among them mining and oil production. With the development of new infrastructure and energy projects, the Russian Arctic shipping could grow to more than six million tons within three years, Rosatom maintains.

Russia is builing new nuclear-powered icebreakers, and also reconstructing old ones, to meet the growing demand. The Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet is based at the Atomflot base in Murmansk.