Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Atomflot head talks about scrapping old nuclear icebreakers

Decommissioned Soviet-built nuclear icebreakers will be scrapped.

22 November 2022

Leonid Irlitsa, Acting General Director of FSUE Atomflot, told the Project Office for Arctic Development (POAD) about how this work is planned.

Nuclear-powered Arctic vessels must undergo a range of procedures to ensure radiation safety before they can be stripped for metal.

Thus, active decommissioning work is preceded by a long period of cold storage, followed by measures to dismantle the reactor plant and other contaminated equipment, decontamination and removal of radioactive contamination in the nuclear vessel's rooms. Once these procedures are completed, a final survey is carried out to officially remove the facility from the 'radiation source' category and allow for its commercial disposal.

The four nuclear-powered icebreakers used on the NSR routes—the Sibir, the Arktika, the Sovetsky Soyuz and the Rossiya—currently run along this route. The first in line is the icebreaker Sibir, built in 1977, which ended service in 1993. The ship has been declared a radiation-safe facility since 2021 and preparations are now underway to sell its hull for further dismantling—an auction will take place in December this year. Next on the schedule is the Arktika icebreaker, created in 1975, which was the first ship to reach the North Pole in an above-water voyage. The two remaining nuclear-powered vessels will remain idle until 2030.


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