Baltic Shipyard Lays Keel for Russia’s Fourth Project 22220 Nuclear Icebreaker Yakutia

Baltic Shipyard, part of United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), has laid the keel for Russia’s fourth Project 22220 LK-60Ya nuclear-powered icebreaker Yakutia during a ceremony at its facility St. Petersburg on May 22.

The keel-laying was announced by the ship’s customer, the State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom.

Yakutia is the fourth Project 22220 icebreaker and the third serial nuclear icebreaker of the class.

The name, Yakutia, was announced by the Baltic Shipyard earlier this month. Yakutia (Sakha Republic) is the largest federal subject of Russia located in the north-eastern part of Siberia.

“The name of the new icebreaker continues the tradition of naming the ships of Rosatomflot, according to which the names are selected from the geographical names of the objects of the Northern Sea Route or repeat the names of the legendary Soviet nuclear-powered icebreakers of the Arctic type which are decommissioned, ” said the statement. About one-third of the coastline along the Northern Sea Route is in Yakutia.

Project 22220 icebreaker
Rendering of Russia’s Project 22220 LK-60Ya nuclear-powered icebreaker. Photo by Hanko/Wikimedia Commons.

Project 22220 icebreakers have an overall length of 173 m, breadth of 34 m, design draught is 10.5 m and a minimal operating draught of 8.55 m. The dual-draught design will enable ships to operate in both Arctic waters and mouths of polar rivers. The ships have a displacement of 33,540 tonnes or 25,450 tonnes without ballast.

Once entering service, Project 22220 vessels will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers ever constructed, surpassing their predecessors, the Arktika class nuclear-powered icebreakers.

The vessels will be equipped with two RITM-200 nuclear reactors, with a thermal capacity of 175 MW each. The propulsion power of this class of ships will be 60 MW which is why this class is sometimes referred as LK-60.

The icebreakers have been classified by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS) as the ice class, Icebreaker9. The maximum icebreaking capability of project 22220 vessels is 3.0 m and they are intended for the Northern Sea Route along the Russian Arctic coast.

The first ship of the class, Arktika (Arctic), was laid down on 5 November 2013 and was launched on 16 June 2016. The second ship of this class, Sibir (Siberia), was laid down on 26 May 2015 and was launched on 22 September 2017. The construction of the third vessel, Ural, started on 25 July 2016 and she was launched on May 25, 2019.

Project 22220 icebreaker Arktika
First Project 22220 icebreaker Arktika.

In July 2018, it was announced Russian Defence Ministry intends to place an order for additional two Project 22220 icebreakers, for a total of five vessels to be constructed at Baltic Shipyard. The cost for the two vessels is estimated at RUB100 billion ($US1.5 billion).

The new vessels will be operated by FSUE Atomflot (Rosatomflot), part of the Rosatom State Corporation. FSUE Atomflot maintains the world’s only fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers. In addition to cargo transportation along the Northern Sea Route, the Atomflot organizes tourist cruises, the profit from which amounts to 6-7% of the company’s total profit.

Last month, FSUE Atomflot and shipbuilder Zvezda LLC signed a contract on the construction of the first Project 10510 Leader nuclear icebreaker.

When built, this 69,700-tonne icebreaker would supersede the Project 22220 icebreakers as the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world. As per the terms of the contract, the vessel is expected to be commissioned in 2027.

Project 10510 Leader Nuclear Icebreaker
Artist’s rendering of Russia’s Project 10510 Leader nuclear icebreaker being constructed for Rosatomflot by Zvezda Shipyard. Rosatom Photo.

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