Russia To Build 120 Megawatt Nuclear Powered Northern Sea Passage Icebreaker Fleet

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Op/Ed by Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Russia’s Far East Zvezda shipyard and Rosatomflot, Russia’s nuclear powered ice-breaker manufacturer, have signed contracts for the construction of what will be the worlds largest ice-breaker. The new vessel, to be delivered in late 2020, will dwarf the power of existing  classes of these ships, with a new 120-Megawatt powerplant.

Called “The Leader”, the new Project 10510 icebreaker got the green light yesterday and is a large technological leap from the current “Arktika” fleet, which are currently undergoing trials and are expected to join Russia’s icebreaker fleet later this year.

While the Arktika is capable of breaking three-meter-thick ice, the new Leader icebreakers will be able to cut through a 4.3 meter-thick ice sheet, as well as to stay at sea for eight months without entering a port. The new icebreakers will pack twice as much punch, boasting a 120-MWatt powerplant, compared to the 60-MWatt output of the Arktika.

The dimensions of the new Leader are impressive as well: the ship will be over 200 meters long – slightly less than two football pitches, and some 40 meters tall, equal to a 13-story residential

Both vessel families will be tasked with making way for softer vessels through the ice of Russia’s Northern Sea Route.

They will accompany fossil fuel-carrying ships that are heading to the Asia-Pacific from Russia’s Arctic deposits. The estimated cost of the maiden Leader vessel amounts to Rs.127 billion (US$1.7 billion). Russia aims to build at least three vessels of the type, which are expected to join its icebreaker fleet by 2033.

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Russia Briefing is written by Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm has 28 offices throughout Eurasia, including China, Russia, India, and the ASEAN nations, assisting foreign investors into the Eurasian region. Please contact Maria Kotova at for Russian investment advisory or assistance with market intelligence, legal, tax and compliance issues throughout Asia.

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