Russia launched Sibir (Siberia), the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker ship built under Project 22220 into the water at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg.
Sibir is second of three icebreakers of new class of biggest nuclear powered icebreakers ever constructed under Project 22220. The first one was Arktika (Arctic) was put in service in June 2016. Third icebreaker Ural is set to be completed in 2019.
Sibir is powered by two next generation RITM-200 nuclear-reactors. These reactors will be supplied with nuclear be produced by the TVEL fuel company. It is 173 meters long and 34 meters wide. It has displacement capacity of 33500 metric tons. It has dual-draft design that can break through 13 feet (3 metres) thick ice, enabling it to use it in Arctic waters and in estuaries of polar rivers.
Sibir is designed to transport cargo along the Northern Sea Passage, a naval route near Artic has which has become recently more accessible due to climate change. It is 12 to 15 days shorter than traditional commercial routes through the Suez canal. It will help Russia to maintain control in Arctic waters due to drilling opportunities, minerals and strategic importance.
Russia is only country in world that produces nuclear-powered icebreakers. The new series of icebreakers under Project 22220 are meant to ensure year-round navigation in western Arctic, and their makes possible to use them in Arctic Ocean as well as in rivers.