Putin touts Russia’s ‘Arctic power’ with new nuclear icebreaker | Nuclear Power News


The president promises to develop his country’s nuclear fleet despite the current difficulties in Russia’s economy and manufacturing.

On Tuesday, President Vladimir Putin praised Russia’s Arctic might at a flag-raising ceremony and the launching of two nuclear-powered icebreakers that will provide year-round navigation in the western Arctic.

Presiding via video link from the Kremlin at the launch ceremony in St Petersburg in northern Russia, Putin said such icebreakers were of strategic importance to the country.

“Both icebreakers were laid down as part of a large series project and are part of our large-scale systematic work to re-equip and replenish the domestic icebreaker fleet, to strengthen Russia’s status as a great Arctic power,” Putin said.

The Arctic is gaining greater strategic importance due to climate change as the shrinking ice cap opens up new sea lanes.

Vast oil and gas resources are located in the Arctic regions of Russia, including a liquefied natural gas plant on the Yamal Peninsula.

The Kremlin chief vowed to develop his country’s nuclear fleet despite the current difficulties in Russia’s economy and manufacturing, apparently referring to Western sanctions over Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine.

“We will increase the capabilities of our nuclear icebreaker fleet,” Putin said.

He said this should be achieved “using indigenous equipment and components”.

The Russian leader added that Moscow is “open to cooperation with our partners” and that “despite the current difficulties, we will certainly fulfill everything we have planned.”

Putin smiled as the nuclear-powered icebreaker Yakutia was launched into the water at the docks and stood as the Russian national anthem graced the raising of the Russian flag on the Ural icebreaker, which will enter service in December.

The 173.3-meter (569-foot) Yakutia, with a displacement of up to 33,540 tons, can break through ice up to three meters. It will enter into operation in 2024.

Russian President Vladimir Putin participates in the ceremony of raising the Russian national flag on the nuclear icebreaker
Russian President Vladimir Putin participates in the ceremony of raising the Russian national flag on the Ural nuclear icebreaker and the launching of Russia’s newest and largest nuclear icebreaker Yakutia, via video link from the Novo-Ogarevo state residence outside Moscow, Russia , November 22, 2022 [Sputnik/Aleksey Babushkin/Kremlin via Reuters]

Two other icebreakers of the same series, Arctic and Siberian, are already in service, and another, Chukotka, is planned for 2026.

Putin said the super-powerful nuclear-powered 209-meter-long icebreaker, known as the Rossiya, with a displacement of up to 71,380 tons, would be completed by 2027. It would be able to break through four-meter-thick ice.

“They are necessary for the study and development of the Arctic, to ensure safe, sustainable shipping in this region, to increase traffic along the Northern Sea Route,” Putin said.

“The development of this most important transport corridor will allow Russia to more fully unlock its export potential and establish efficient logistics routes, including to Southeast Asia.”

Putin, who came to power in 1999 promising to end the chaos caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, has quietly boosted Russia’s presence in the Arctic, where Russia has more than 24,000 km (15,000 miles) of coastline stretching from the Barents Sea to the Sea of ​​Okhotsk.

Since 2005, Russia has reopened dozens of Soviet-era military bases in the Arctic, modernized its navy and developed new hypersonic missiles designed to evade US sensors and defenses.

Arctic experts said it would take at least 10 years for the West to catch up with Russia’s military in the region, if it decided to do so.



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