Three new nuclear icebreakers in the pipeline

Russia has started construction of the first LK-60 nuclear-powered icebreaker. (Ill Rosatomflot)

Baltic Shipyard outside St.


Baltic Shipyard outside St. Petersburg on November 1 started cutting the metal for LK-60, the largest and most powerful icebreaker ever built. This vessel will make commercial traffic along the Northern Sea Route possible all year around.

The vessel will be ready for traffic on the NSR by 2018, General Director of Rosatomflot, Vyacheslav Ruksha told BarentsObserver.

Russia will have a large demand for new nuclear-powered icebreakers in the near future.  Of the existing six vessels that are operating in Arctic waters today only one will be operational by 2020.

Money for construction of another two icebreakers will be allocated in 2013, General Director of Rosatom Sergey Kiriyenko says according to Arctic-info.

The three new icebreakers will cost Russia a total of 51,8 billion rubles (app €1,3 billion). 

The LK-60 icebreaker is wider than the current icebreakers. It will will have a maximum width of 34 meters, compared to the maximum of 30 meters width at the Arktika class vessels. With such design it will be possible to support larger tankers through the Northern Sea Route.

With its supreme power the LK60 will be able to maneuver through three meters of ice, making it possible for Rosatomflot to open the Northern Sea Route for commercial traffic all year around.