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Project 22220 / LK-60 / Arktika

Project LK-60 The LK-60 icebreaker, the first icebreaker of the new generation, is under construction at Baltiysky Zavod. The ship was designed by Central Design Bureau Iceberg in 2009. The lead 60 MW icebreaker of Project 22220 ordered by Atomflot was laid down in November 2013. The icebreakers advanced dual-draft capability makes it suitable for operations both in the Arctic waters and in the mouths of the northern rivers. The icebreaker will be operating in the western region of the Arctic: the Barents, Pechora and Kara Seas and in shallow waters of the mouth of the Yenisei and the Ob Bay.

The main advantage of the new design is that it can by changing the draft through ballast tanks, sail on the high seas and low. With a normal 8.5 meters draft, the icebreaker LK-60 will be able to enter the Dudinka port (in the Krasnoyarsk region), in the Gulf of Ob and other drought areas. Increasing the draft in two or three meters at the expense of ballast, the LK-60 may act on the high seas, using the mass and inertia force to break thick ice up to three meters.

The icebreaker - the first of the LK-60 model to be built - will be 173 meters long and 34 meters wide, some 14 meters longer and 4 meters wider than the current biggest icebreaker, the 50 Years of Victory. The displacement of the new vessel will be about 33,540 tonnes. It will have a draft of between 8.5 and 10.5 meters. These dimensions are all a bit larger than the preliminary design of 2006. The LK-60 - which will have a crew of 75 - will be capable of breaking through ice up to 2.8 meters thick at a speed of between 1.5 and 2 knots.

The LK-60 will be based around two RITM-200 pressurized water reactors to power a three shaft propulsion arrangement. The reactor design was developed by OKBM Afrikantov and integrates some main components into the reactor vessel and produces 60 MWe for the motor-driven propeller. The same design was foreseen as being incorporated in floating power plants. The reactor would operate on fuel enriched to less than 20% uranium-235 and require refuelling every seven years over a 40-year lifespan.

Rosatomflot refers to the LK-60 as being 'universal' as it can be used both in the open sea and on rivers. The new icebreaker was planned to be used in the western Arctic region, including in the Barents, Pechora and Kara seas, as well as in the shallower waters of the Yenisei River and Ob Bay. During the summer and autumn months it will operate in the eastern Arctic region.

Several icebreaker projects were under way in Russia. One was a study of a Yamal-2 to replace Arktika. Russian research and design institutions - in co-operation with experts from Finland and Germany - have already carried-out a feasibility study for the development of a new generation of icebreakers. The basic designs for such new classes of ice-breakers have apparently been ready since around 1995. According to the St.Petersburg-based Central Marine Research and Design Institute (CNIIMF), the following types of new generation icebreakers should be examined:

  • A lead icebreaker with the power of 100 MW to ensure year-round navigation on the NSR, including escorting large capacity cargo vessels along high-latitude routes (north of all the archipelagos). Such an ice-breaker would also be used as a rescue ship. Such icebreakers will have almost double the strength of today's largest ice-breakers, the 56 MW Arktika-class ice-breakers. This "super icebreaker" intended to ensure all-year navigation between Europe and Japan along the Russian Arctic coast.
  • A universal ice-breaker with two draft modes of operation with 60 MW power, for support of navigation in the western area of the Arctic Region. Such an ice-breaker would be able to operate both in the sea, in the shallow shelf areas, and in river estuaries. The 60 MW nuclear ice-breaker was an especially interesting concept. With its wide 32.2 m beam and shallow 8.5 m minimum draft, it would be very versatile and able to replace both Arktika and shallow-draft Taymyr class ice-breakers and accommodate considerably larger cargo vessels.
  • In addition, construction of a new line of 25 MW diesel-electrical icebreakers was being considered, as well as new port icebreakers.

The Russian Special Design Bureau for Mechanical Engineering (OKBM) was developing a new icebreaker reactor - RITM-200 - to replace the KLT reactors and to serve in floating nuclear power plants. This was an integral 210 MWt, 55 MWe PWR with inherent safety features. A single compact RITM-200 could replace twin KLT-40S (but yielding less total power). A major challenge was the reliability of steam generators and associated equipment which was much less accessible when inside the reactor pressure vessel.

It was supposed that icebreakers of the LK-60 type will be used for this purpose in the future. These icebreakers may operate both in coastal shelf areas and in the deep ocean. Engineers also plan to start developing icebreakers with new nuclear installations that will be able to guide convoys from Europe to America through the North Pole.




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