Retired nuclear icebreakers find new life in Arctic research

Old icebreakers should get a second life, Rosatom argues.

Russian nuclear power company Rosatom proposes to turn retired nuclear-powered icebreakers into drifting research stations.


Speaking in a conference this week, Rosatom Deputy Head Stanislav Golovinsky said the icebreakers should get a second life as Arctic research stations.

”These ships have good accommodation and household facilites and could be used in a non-nuclear solution, they would not even need propellers”, Golovinsky said. The ships can be tugged to Chukotka or other places in the Russian east Arctic and then drift westwards with researchers on board, he argues, RIA Novosti reports.

Russia has a total of nine nuclear-powered icebreakers, of which three have been taken out of service. While the ”Lenin” has been turned into museum, the ”Sibir” and ”Arktika” are docked at the Atomflot facility outside Murmansk.

Another two icebreakers, the ”Rossiya” and the ”Taimyr”, are planned taken out of service in 2018 as new-built vessels are taken into the fleet. As previously reported, Russia is currently in the process of constructing at least 14 new icebreakers of different classes, of which the two new LK-60 vessels are due to be ready for service in 2019 and 2020 respectively.