1 How Russian Atomic Icebreaker Works

How Russian Atomic Icebreaker Works

Posted on August 21, 2018 by tim

Basically, an atomic icebreaker is a steamship. The atomic reactor heats up the water, then steam is created and rotates turbines which activate electric generators which produce electricity for electric engines which rotate three huge propellers.

The thickness of the body in places where it is actually used to break the ice is over 10 cm (5 inch). It has a double hull so if the ice pierces the hull the water doesnt go inside the ship.

This atomic ship is called “50th Anniversary of Victory” (in WW2), it has 2 atomic reactors of 170 Megawatts each. It would be enough to supply a city of two million people with electricity.

Sergey, the traveller went on a tour of the ship.

The trip began in the office of the chief engineer. He briefly described how the ship works. His story was translated to English and Japanese, as the tourists are mainly foreigners.

Two turbines, each of them power three generators that make alternating current.  The yellow boxes on the background are the rectifiers which convert AC to DC because the motors work on DC.

The atomic reactors are protected from accidents and external forces. The ship can withstand a Boeing airplane crashing into it and it shouldn’t break.

Reactors get refilled with fuel once each five years.

The AC to DC convertors (above)


The electric motors turn propellers. This room is nine meters under water.

It’s very noisy here, here is the video:

And this is the steering mechanism. Up on the deck, the captain turns the wheel with just his finger and those hydraulic rams pass his motion to the rudders.




This is upper part of the rudder.

No caption needed.

They produce over 120 tons of fresh water daily.

You can sample the water right here. Sergey says he tried – it tastes like normal distilled water.

“Anti noise cabin”

The CO2 detector.

This is a place where oil is dripping, but they decided not to fix it, they just positioned a tin can to catch the drops and then once in a while pour it out.

The bridge.

Three people drive the ship. They work in four hour shifts. There is a sailor who is actually turning the steering wheel, the chief of the shift who oversees everything and issues commands (he is also responsible for the whole ship), and his assistant who records the log, plots the ship’s course on a map and helps the chief. Those three levers control the frequency of the propeller rotation. They have 41 steps – 20 steps ahead to increase the rotation speed and 20 steps backwards to decrease and rotate in the other direction. There is also a stop position.

The steering sailor. Take a note of how small the steering wheel actually is.

The communication center (with Internet)

The ship has a multitude of stairs, including luxurious ones.

Hallways and cabin doors.

The bar for tourists.

The library. All the books are in English and are brought from Canada, Sergey says.

A ship’s main lobby, and a reception desk.

A mailbox – every tourist can send themselves a postcard from the North Pole. This ship makes tours to the North Pole and back, for an average price of $10,000 – maybe they are even more expensive now.

Pool and saunas.

Sports room


Before entering the cafe there is a sanitizer globe and a warning to use it.

You can chose from three types of dishes at every meal time.

Most of the cooks were hired from Argentina to serve “high cuisine”.

The luxury porcelain dishes bought in Europe.

There are three German cooks and dessert makers – these are their creations.

At that time, Sergey took a trip to the North Pole and back, and he has already returned.


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One Response to “How Russian Atomic Icebreaker Works”

  1. sszzrr says:

    Finally, they found penguins in north pole.

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