Russia starts building a nuclear super ice-breaker

Expected to be active by 2027
The Russian atomic icebreaker "50 Years of Victory" (50 Let Pobedy) at the base of the state company Rosatomflot in Murmansk, Russia

REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV  -   The Russian atomic icebreaker "50 Years of Victory" (50 Let Pobedy) at the base of the state company Rosatomflot in Murmansk, Russia

Russia began construction of what will be the world's most powerful nuclear icebreaker, according to authorities, and is scheduled to go into service in 2027, reported Rosatomflot, a company of the Russian atomic consortium Rosatom.

"The first metal cutting for the construction of the super-powerful nuclear icebreaker of the 'Leader' class project 101510 was carried out on July 6 at the shipyards in the city of Bolshoy Kamen, in the Primorie region (on the shores of the Pacific)," said Rosatomflot, the ship's builder, in a statement.

The super ice-breaker will be called "Rossia" ("Russia"), said Rosatomflot's General Director Mustafa Kashka, who stressed that the "Leader" class ships "are unparalleled in the world" and "will allow year-round navigation in the eastern region of the Arctic.

With a displacement of 67,900 tons and equipped with two RITM-400 nuclear reactors, it will be 209 meters long and 47.7 meters wide. It will develop a speed of up to 22 knots in clear water and will be able to advance through ice fields up to four meters thick.

El rompehielos nuclear atómico "Arktika" operado por Rosatomflot se ve en construcción en los Astilleros del Báltico en San Petersburgo, Rusia
REUTERS/ANTON VAGANOV - The nuclear atomic icebreaker "Arktika" operated by Rosatomflot is under construction at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia

The "Rossía" will be the first of three vessels of the "Líder" class that Rosatomflot plans to build.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a great promoter of the Arctic route, the shortest route between China and Europe, which he considers key for the development of the Russian Arctic territories and the Far East. By 2035 Russia plans to have a fleet of 13 icebreakers, nine of them nuclear. The Russian federal project for the development of the Arctic route envisages investments in infrastructure amounting to 734.9 billion roubles (about 11.4 billion dollars), more than half of which will be provided by large Russian companies in the gas and oil sector.