RT: Russia has floated its third next-gen nuclear icebreaker – the Ural – designed to lead ships through the thickest ice sheets in the Arctic. When completed these type of vessels will become the world’s largest and most powerful.
The Ural is the third ship of Project 22220, set to become the most powerful and biggest nuclear icebreakers in the world. The icebreakers of this type are expected to be able to crush through an ice sheet of up to three meters thick. The colossal ships are measured over 170 meters long – like a full-scale athletics stadium – and are as tall as a five-story building in its superstructure section.
The floating ceremony went smoothly at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg on Saturday, with the obligatory champagne bottle successfully broken on the hull.
As the ship was sliding into the water, however, its port side anchor chain plummeted to the ground, damaging some temporary structures in progress. Fortunately, the shipyard workers evaded the thick chain and no one was injured in the mishap.
The other two vessels, the Arktika and the Sibir have been floated over the past few years and remain under construction. The Ural itself is scheduled to be fully completed by 2022.
The maiden ship, the Arktika, started receiving its first batch of nuclear fuel in mid-May, and is expected to enter service later this year. The ships of Project 22220 are designed to be capable of operating both in blue water and in rather shallow debouchments of Siberian rivers.
Over the past few years, Russia has been actively modernizing its icebreaker fleet, launching both nuclear and conventionally powered vessels. Such ships are the key to successfully operating in the Arctic region, and the additions to the icebreaker fleet are expected to further boost sea traffic past the northern shores of Russia.