atw 2018-03v6


atw Vol. 63 (2018) | Issue 3 ı March

Russian Nuclear Energy Technologies

for the Development of the Arctic

Andrej Yurjewitsch Gagarinskiy

Small nuclear facilities have become an integral part of two important areas of human activities, namely, they are the

basis of nuclear ships and scientific/educational research reactors that are in fact the main training facilities for new

nuclear specialists all over the world. However, despite great and justified expectations of their developers, small

nuclear power plants (SNPPs), with their obvious advantages (compared to conventional energy sources) in hardlyaccessible

areas, have not yet managed to start playing a notable role in the power industry.

This is also completely true as concerns the task of using

nuclear technologies for the development of the Arctic,

where only the nuclear ship propulsion can be considered

as an accomplished technology [1].

1 Civil nuclear ships

Russia is the world’s only country that has civil nuclear

ships in operation. Nuclear shipbuilding experience of

other countries (Savannah, 1962–1979, USA; Otto Hahn,

1968–1980, FRG; and Mutsu, 1974 –1991, Japan) was

relatively brief. Plans to construct nuclear icebreakers

repeatedly declared by countries such as USA, Canada,

Argentina and China are still just intentions.

Table 1 presents both the past (starting from the

world’s first nuclear icebreaker Lenin) and the present of

Russia’s civil nuclear fleet, which is intended exclusively

for the development of the country’s Arctic regions.

Currently the Russian civil nuclear shipbuilding is

resurging. To timely replace the existing icebreakers to

enable reliable continuous navigation and year-round

delivery of goods via the Northern Sea Route, the

government in the summer of 2011 has decided to build

and launch three universal nuclear icebreakers: the pilot

one in 2017 and two serial ones in 2019 and 2020,

respectively. The pilot icebreaker’s keel was laid at the

Baltic Plant in 2013.

The Iceberg Design Bureau has developed a detailed

design of a nuclear icebreaker with improved icebreaking

capability and variable draught (from 10.5 m in deep

waters to 8.5 m in shallow ones). This variable draught

would allow this icebreaker to operate not only in Arctic

seas, but also in the mouths of northern rivers. The new

nuclear facility – RITM-200 – developed by OKBM

Afrikantov for this icebreaker includes two integral PWRs

of 175 MWth each; its lifetime makes up to 40 years and its

period of continuous operation is 26,000 hours.

Icebreaker parameters are: displacement – 23,000 t;

length – 172.2 m, width – 33 m, height – 15 m, speed – 22

knots. This ship – that would allow for up to 6 months of

independent sailing – is intended for operation in the

Western Arctic (Barents Sea, Pechora Sea, Kara Sea, mouth

of the Yenissei and the Ob Bay region). This pilot icebreaker

Arktika (Figure 1), already afloat, is currently

under construction at the Baltic Plant, as well as two serial

icebreakers of the same design, Sibir (Arktika’s successor

on the berth) and Ural (keel laid). As by late 2017, their

commissioning was expected between 2019 and 2021.

| | Fig. 1.

Launching of the new Arktika, 2016.

Revised version of a

paper presented at

the Annual Meeting

of Nuclear Technology

(AMNT 2017), Berlin.



Ship Year of commissioning Power facility Current status

Lenin 1959 2 OK-900 reactors,

32.4 MW (44,000 hp)

Arktika 1975 2 reactors,

55 MW (75,000 hp)

Decommissioned in 1989

Museum since 2010

Decommissioned in 2008

Sibir 1977 same Decommissioned in 1992

Sent for disposal in 2016

Rossiya 1985 same Decommissioned in 2013

Sovetsky Soyuz 1989 same Decommissioned in 2010

Restoration being considered

Yamal 1989 2 OK-900A reactors In operation

Taymyr 1989 KLT-40 reactor,

36.8 MW (50,000 hp.)

In operation

Vaygach 1990 same In operation

50 Let Pobedy 2007 2 reactors,

55 MW (75,000 hp)

In operation

Sevmorput (LASH) 1988 29.4 MW (39,000 hp) In operation

(restored in 2013–2015

| | Tab. 1.

Russian civil nuclear fleet.

Energy Policy, Economy and Law

Russian Nuclear Energy Technologies for the Development of the Arctic ı Andrej Yurjewitsch Gagarinskiy

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