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Project 10521 50 Let Pobedy (50th Anniversary of Victory)

The nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy (50 Years of Victory, 50th Anniversary of Victory, 50 Years Since Victory or 50 Years Anniversary of Victory) is the largest and the most modern one in the world as of 2007. "50 Let Pobedy", constructed at Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg, is the sixth in the series of the second generation atomic icebreakers (Arktika Type) and the fourth built to the modernized Design 10521. This ship is the upgrade of the Arktika-class, the most powerful icebreakers ever built. The icebreaker 50 Years of Victory (50th Anniversary of Victory) is a revamped second-generation Arktika-class ship.

The newest addition to the fleet is the largest, most sophisticated, and powerful icebreaker ever constructed. Twenty years in the making, 50 Years of Victory is the first Arktika-class icebreaker to have a spoon-shaped bow. Boosting the efficiency is the all-new automated digital control system. The ship, designed with a stainless steel ice belt 5 meters (18 feet) wide, breaks through ice up to 2.5 meters (9.2 feet) thick. [some claim 4-meter-thick ice fields]

She has a new-generation digital automatic control system, and her nuclear propulsion unit is fitted with state-of-the-art nuclear- and radiation-safety systems. The ice-breaker's engine, with 75 thousand horse power is one of the biggest in the world. In open water, top speed can be as much as 21.4 knots.The 159-meter (522-foot) long and 30-meter (100-foot) wide vessel has a displacement of 25,000 metric tons.

The 50 Years of Victory icebreaker took at least 18 years to complete. Construction on project no. 10521 started on October 4, 1989 at the Baltic Works in Saint Petersburg, USSR [one report states that building started at the Baltic Shipyards in St.Petersburg in 1985]. Originally the ship was named NS Ural. The Ural was floated off on 29 December 1993. Work was halted in 1993 for lack of funds, so that the real 50 Years Anniversary of Victory Day in 1995 found the ship in an abandoned state. In 1998, the vessel was reported to be 67.2% completed, needing further 34 months' of work to be launched, provided that necessary funding is provided. Total construction costs for the vessel was reportedly approximately USD 250 mln, with USD 75 mln reportedly still missing in 1998. At the Northern Sea Route User Conference in November 1999, the Russian Transport Minister reconfirmed Russia's intention of completing the vessel, indicating launch in 2002.

The construction of the nuclear icebreaker was rolled back for about a decade in the absence of state financing. Ural seems later on to have been renamed 50 let Pobedy (50 years of Victory), which was again renamed "60 let Pobedy (60 years of Victory)". At some point the name reverted to 50 years of Victory [lest the name be required to be later changed to 70 years of Victory if construction was further prolonged, perhaps].

The project outlived several managers, came through a lack of money and survived a massive fire. On 30 November 2004, a fire broke out in ship. All workers aboard the vessel, had to be evacuated while the fire crews battled the fire for some 20 hours before getting it under control. One worker was sent to the hospital. There was no threat of radioactive contamination as the nuclear reactor had no fuel inside.

But it managed to withstand the storm. By the end of the construction some of the mechanisms were out of date and had to be replaced, but the vessel's main advantages remained. At the end of 1990s financing was partially resumed. As of 2002 the ship was 70-percent built, and as of 2003 the icebreaker was only 80% complete.

Russian shipbuilders resumed work on this ambitious Soviet-era project after President Vladimir Putin told a conference that the famous Northern Sea Route linking Murmansk and Vladivostok would remain a top priority of Russia's plans in the Arctic. Putin emphasized the importance of icebreakers for Russia and instructed the Finance Ministry to find money to complete the 50 Years of Victory. In 2002 Russia's Cabinet decided to divert money regularly spent on operating the nuclear icebreakers fleet to complete the 50 Year Anniversary. The governmental decree stipulates earmarking around $83m until the year 2005 — the year of ship's commissioning. Norilsk Nickel Combine also planned to allot $15m each year to commission the icebreaker in 2005.

In February 2003 Baltiysky Zavod JSC and the Directorate of Sea Transport Development signed a contract on outfitting the icebreaker. In accordance with this document Rubles 2,5 bln. would be allocated from the federal budget for icebreaker outfitting during 2003-2005 (in 2003 - Rubles 820 mio. in 2004 - Rubles 913 mio., in 2005 - Rubles 767 mio.).

The vessel was finally completed in the beginning of 2007, two years after the 60th Anniversary. The icebreaker sailed into the Gulf of Finland for two weeks of sea trials on February 1, 2007. On 23 March 2007, the world's largest nuclear icebreaker, 50 Let Pobedy (50 Years of Victory), joined the Russian merchant fleet. The icebreaker, initially laid down as the nuclear ship Ural in 1989, was commissioned at the Baltiisky Zavod (Baltic Shipyard) in St. Petersburg and set sail for Murmansk on April 2.

The ship is a new model icebreaker, incorporating new technological solutions, which will be produced in series. The icebreaker was commissioned by the Murmansk Shipping Company in 2007. The Murmansk Shipping Company operates an icebreaker fleet and organises icebreaker-led shipping along the Northern sea route and in and out of Russian ports that ice over in the winter. The company operates 310 ships with total deadweight of around 2 million tons. The company employs around 5,000 people and its fleet accounts for 40 percent of total transport volume of ships operating under the Russian flag. It accounts for up to 80 percent of freight traffic on the Northern sea route.

Arktika, launched in 1975, was the leader among the world's biggest icebreakers, but not the biggest one. The icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy is nine meters longer than Arktika and makes up the world record showing of 159 meters. An ecology compartment added to the basic hull makes up the nine meters. The new icebreaker was the first one meeting the world requirements in waste disposal into the ocean; the ecology compartment will reclaim wastes.

The nuclear powered icebreaker "50 Let Pobedy" significantly differs from its younger sisterships due to the state of the art technical and engineering solutions used in the project. The displacement of this ship is some 25,000 tons, 159.6m LOA, 30m beam, 11m draft. "50 Let Pobedy" is 9.6m longer than "Yamal", which preceded it. This allows for installing additional ecological equipment to comply with all the requirements of environmental services. To improve the icebreaking capacity, the basic function of an icebreaker, "50 Let Pobedy" has been equipped with a turbo-supercharging anti-freezing device, the ice belt has been strengthened with clad steel, and the bow contour has been improved.

The icebreaker is powered by two nuclear electric power plants with a total capacity of 75,000 h.p. Atomic icebreakers of the Arktika class carry two nuclear reactors of 171 megawatts each. As a rule, captains operate reactors one after another, not both at once. The speed in open water is 18 knots, the icebreaking capacity is 3 meters at a speed of 2 knots.

The Crew and Expedition Staff of the "50 Years of Victory" consists of 140 persons. Passengers aboard "50 Years of Victory" are lodged in 47 outside cabins (i.e., having windows or portholes) and 17 first class cabins with all conveniences including large portholes, desk, television, etc. All cabins are equipped with private facilities. For passenger convenience serves an elevator. Public areas include a large passenger dining room (that can accommodate all passengers at once), forward lounge, aft/lecture hall, bar, gym, sauna and an indoor swimming pool filled with heated seawater. The Bridge (open almost around the clock) and wide open decks at various levels provide splendid views from the ship.

Experts said Russia would need six to 10 nuclear-powered icebreakers in the next 20 years, as demand for them grows with the development of the Arctic shelf and increased traffic along the Northern Sea route.

In light of potential mass decommissioning of auxiliary ships and port ice-breakers, the issues were raised in order to assure prompt fleet reinforcement and completion of ice-breaking goals: Enactment of measures to prolong useful life of ice-breakers that are subjects to decommission in 2005 until the fleet is replenished (but no later than 2008). Design of new ice-breakers of no more than 2 nominal sizes with capacities of 7 and 4 megawatts respectively; standardized to the maximum, high-tech, capable to achieve goals with minimal operating costs. In order to meet the demand and carry out the construction program of ships and port ice-breakers before 2015, approximately 700 million Euros will need to be invested. Itemized engineering assignments and design studies could commence in 2006. Construction of ice-breakers can be carried out by such enterprises of the North-West region as State Unitary Enterprise "Admiralty Shipyards", OJSC "Baltic Plant", OJSC "Northern Shipyard", OJSC "Vyborg Shipbuilding Plant" and other companies experienced in construction of ice-breakers and ice ships.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:10:32 ZULU