Daily Management Review

Russia Launches Nuclear-Icebreaker To Strengthen Its Arctic Trade Route


The Arctic promises undiscovered oil reservoirs, and as the climate turns warmer with the year, Russia prepares to the “Northern Sea Route” all around the year.

Source: www.flickr.com; (CC BY 2.0)
Source: www.flickr.com; (CC BY 2.0)
On Saturday, May 25, 2019, Russia launched an icebreaker which will be powered by nuclear energy. This move comes under an ambitious plan as the country seeks to “renew and expand” its vessels’ fleet for improving its capacity in order to tap into the commercial potential presented by the Arctic region.
The icebreaker ship is called the Ural, which is “one of a trio” series that claims to be “the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world” on its completion. Ural was floated out of St. Petersburg dockyard as Russia continues to build “new infrastructure” and overhaul its ports. As the climate gets warmer, the country readies itself to handle “more traffic” by channelling the same through “the Northern Sea Route” which should be open all round the year.
As mentioned earlier, the other two icebreaker ships in the trio series will be “Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia)”, and as per schedule the entire series would be handed over to Rosatom, the “state-owned nuclear energy corporation” of Russia, by the year of 2022. In the word of the C.E.O of Rosatom, Alexey Likhachev:
“The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity”.
In fact, in the month of April, Russian President, Vladimir Putin had said that the country was taking its icebreaker construction plans to the next level for “significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast”. This said drive is an attempt to strengthen its place in the “High North” amid rivals such as Canada, the U.S.A., Norway and now the “newcomer China”.
Furthermore, President Putin had also revealed that by 2035, Russia has plans of operating a minimum of “13 heavy-duty icebreakers” within its fleet, and nine among them would run on nuclear power.
According to the estimation of the “US Geological Survey”, the Arctic has an oil and gas reserves which would fill up nearly “412 billion” oil barrels which also happens to account for around 22% undiscovered oil reserve of the world.
The above mentioned route runs from “Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska”, while Russia hopes that it takes off cutting down the “sea transport times from Asia to Europe”.