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.
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.
Those turbines can produce 50,000 horsepower. So it breaks ice up to 2.50 meters.
This one is interesting, in that it was built in Finland for a Soviet Union order. However, the nuclear power plant was of course Soviet and also the Soviet Union supplied special steel to be used during the shipbuilding.
This giant is equipped with a pneumatic system that allows it to raise the front or the back of the ship above the ice level and then hammer it down, crushing the ice. Also, it can move itself from side to side to help crush the ice, too.
It’s speed on average is 33.3 km/h
The propellers are being serviced.
Another ship. The “Lenin”. It was the first one! Finished back in 1957. It served for 31 years and in 1990 was docked here. Now it’s a museum.
This is where the nuclear power plant was on the “Lenin”. Now is being checked for radiation.
Workplace of the captain.
Its main staircase.
Big, big thanks go to Slava for these awesomest photos! 🙂 Thanks Slava!