10 Awesome and Unique Russian Atomic Icebreaking Fleet

Awesome and Unique Russian Atomic Icebreaking Fleet

Posted on November 28, 2014 by tim

A photographer I like, Slava, has visited a breeding ground for the one and only atomic icebreaking fleet in Murmansk. He says that in the whole world, only the USSR and now Russia operate atomic icebreaking ships, which make them one of a kind and unique and now thanks to Slava, we have a rare chance to take a peek inside their headquarters in Murmansk – a city in the Russian North.

He says that there are six operational atomic icebreakers in Russia at the moment. Those are the ships with a nuclear power source. They have been designed specially to work in the coldest climes of the Arctic.

In total, they have built eight nuclear ships in the Soviet Union, and then they built two in modern Russia. He says there are three more that are being constructed right now. The first new one should be ready in 2017. The new ones can break ice up to three meters thick!

If you have forgotten – the pics are clickable for bigger sizes :) In total there are over 1,100 people working on them. The company that runs them all is called “Atom Fleet” or Atomflot in Russian.

The ships have double layered hulls to be able to break ice and avoid accidents. However, what’s interesting is that their nuclear power source is perfect for operating in cold conditions and is not suitable for warmer climes, so they can’t, for example, cross the equator and go to Antarctica.

This particular ship is called Sovietski Soyuz or Soviet Union. It has one interesting particularity – it can be turned in to a battleship, it is designed this way! It was originally used as a trans Arctic tourist cruise ship! To visit the North Pole, etc.

The inside of the ship – the main turbo generators. The ship uses nuclear power to heat water and uses the steam to propel the turbines.

Main control center. 

There are two main control centers on this ship. One is to control the operation of the ship itself and the other is to control the nuclear power source. 

Over thirty years there have been zero problems with the nuclear engines.

A main eating room for the officers. The eating room for the sailors is down one floor. They get meals four times a day.

This ship (Sovetski Soyuz) was finished in 1989 in Leningrad. In 2008 it was upgraded.

And this nuclear icebreaking ship is called “Arctica”. It was built in 1975. It was the biggest at the time. It could carry helicopters and break ice as thick as 5 meters (over 15 feet!).

This ship is famous to be the first ship to reach the North Pole.  Sadly now it is out of service and awaits to be utilized.

The “Vaigach” ship – this ship particular feature is that it is lower than the others, so it can enter the deltas of great Siberian rivers from the Northern Arctic Ocean. 

A captain’s bridge. As you can see they run the same Windows as others did. 

So this nuclear ship’s main purpose is convoying the ships carrying metals and lumber out of the interior of Siberia, first through great Siberian rivers then into the Polar ocean.   

Those turbines can produce 50,000 horsepower. So it breaks ice up to 2.50 meters.


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10 Responses to “Awesome and Unique Russian Atomic Icebreaking Fleet”

  1. Lumin97 says:

    Windows XP!

    • Alain says:

      Don’t change it if it ain’t broken…

      On one of my app, I use a virtual machine with an even older OS (disconnected from the net)

  2. Vijay says:

    Great learning experience, thanks for sharing.

  3. john says:

    Great photos, and very interesting.

  4. RB says:

    Very interesting as always Ty for letting us see how they work. I have a question about history of soviet radar from long time ago. I heard that when Russia was installing the first computer radar system to watch for US missiles and bombers,the head guy said all of a sudden the screens and alarms started to go off and he was under orders to attack if this is the case. He went on to say his gut told him it was a false alarm so he didn’t sound alarm. He said if he had followed orders he would of had to launch missiles but it was just a computer glitch,is this true?

  5. Bob says:

    can i get a confirmation on the Sovietski Soyuz being able to turn into a battleship couse i call bs.

    • James says:

      Why call BS? She has 2 reactors, plenty to power any radars and combat equipment. She already has a helipad and hanger. There are 5 crane mountings that could be re-appropriated for weapons systems and plenty of space inside for supplies.

  6. Pom2Ter says:

    These icebreakers are so beautiful. They show you the strength it takes to challenge nature.

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