Russia scraps three nuclear icebreakers

Laidup nuclear powered icebreakers at Atomflot in Murmansk. Photo: Thomas Nilsen

By 2020 the nuclear icebreakers “Arktika”, “Sibir” and “Rossiya” will be scrapped. This will be done at one of the shipyards in the Russian Barents.


Except of the world’s first nuclear-powered icebreaker “Lenin”, the three vessels bound for scrapping are the oldest in Atomflot’s fleet.

Scrapping of one single icebreaker costs more than 1.5 billion rubles (€37.6 million), writes.

In December 2011 Ministry of Transport signed a contract with the United Shipbuilding Corporation on construction of four diesel-powered icebreakers. Construction is planned to start in 2012.

Russia’s next three-year budget also includes RUB 20 billion for the construction of a new nuclear-powered icebreaker.

When it comes to where the old icebreakers will be cut into scrap metal, there are three places in question: Severodvinsk outside Arkhangelsk, where the two giant shipyards Sevmash and Zvezdochka are located; shipyard number 82 in Roslyakovo in the Kola Bay; the Nerpa shipyard in Snezhnogorsk by the Kola Bay.

Sibir” was launched in 1977. It has been moored in Murmansk since 1992, after being taken out of service because of a technical error in the vessel’s steam generator system. “Arktika” was launched in 1975 and was taken out of service in 2008. “Rossiya” was put on water in 1985 and is still in operation.

From 1959 to 1992, a total of nine civilian nuclear-powered vessels were built in the Soviet Union. Of these, eight were icebreakers and one a container ship (the “Sevmorput”). In the period 1994-2007, the last of the country’s nuclear-powered icebreakers was built, the largest of them all – the “50 Years Victory”.

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