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Nuclear powered icebreakers will be needed for NSR, even if warming.

March 13, 2012

The work of icebreakers in the Northern Sea Route (NSR) will be needed, even if as a result of climate change, the ice will completely disappear from the Arctic in the summer, said department head interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere of the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) Henry Alekseev.

”There are models that predict a complete retreat of the ice in the Arctic – with the development of (global) warming in summer or in September, when there is ice on at least the traditional NSR. According to various estimates, it could happen by 2030. But it is only in the light of human factor. And, in any case, winter, spring and autumn, the ice in the Arctic will be. If we talk about the extension of navigation, especially on a year-round, here without icebreakers can not do. and Russia – the only country that possesses them,”- Alexeyev told RIA Novosti.

The period of free navigation on the Northern Sea Route could actually lengthen, Alexeyev said. Now it is half or two months (August-September), when you can swim quite freely, without ice-breakers, but not always – in some periods of the arrays rather heavy ice can fall from high latitudes to the coast and sea routes overlap.
”So it was in 2007 when, despite the minimal amount of ice Vilkitski Strait (between the Taimyr Peninsula and Severnaya Zemlya archipelago – ed.) Was blocked by powerful ice” tongue. ”And there was the work of the icebreaker is needed” – recalled Alekseev.

Now shipping is limited, mainly the western part of the SMP – on the Yamal Peninsula and the Gulf of Yenisey to Murmansk, the scientist said. If the ice conditions in the Arctic will be not so heavy as now, the court will be able to move at higher latitudes, avoiding, for example, the Strait of Vilkitski.

”Northern Sea Route is more favorable for the transportation, but its use is associated with a number of disadvantages for shipowners. They need navigational support, without breaking, so it is not clear what scenarios there will be implemented in a few years” – said Alexeyev.

The Northern Sea Route – the shortest route between Northern Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. For reference the route Rotterdam-Yokohama when crossing the Indian Ocean distance is 11.2 thousand nautical miles. In pursuit of the Northern Sea Route distance is reduced by 3.9 thousand nautical miles, or 34%. This reduces the travel time from 33 to 20 days and, consequently, reduces the cost of delivery. Potential NSR cargo is estimated at 50 million tons per year.

The first in the 2011 transit of Perseverance tanker with gas condensate through the NSR began June 29 and lasted 15 days. The next was a tanker Heritage, which took place on the Northern Sea Route in just eight days with the help of the atomic icebreaker ”Vaigach.”

Later, large-capacity tanker ”Vladimir Tikhonov,” with deadweight of more than 162 gas condensate thousand tons passed the Northern Sea Route (NSR), accompanied by the nuclear-powered ships in record time – seven and a half days. This is the biggest tanker giant nuclear-powered conducted by SMEs, the history of the nuclear icebreaker fleet of Russia.

A total of 2011 nuclear-powered icebreakers spent the NSR 30 vessels with 816 thousand tons of various cargoes. This year, the transit cargo to the CAP, projected Rosatomflot, will be over one million tons.

Repair and technological enterprise RTP ”Atomflot” was established in 1960. In 2008, the property complex of the enterprise was transferred to the state corporation ”Rosatom”. The structure of the modern Russian nuclear fleet consists of four dvuhreaktornyh icebreaker (”Russia”, ”Soviet Union”, ”Yamal”, ”50 Years of Victory”), two one-reactor melkoosadochnyh icebreaker ”Taimyr” and ”Vaigach” atomic lighter carrier-container “Northern Sea Route” and five floating technical bases of service. Length of the world’s largest linear icebreaker ”50 Years of Victory” is about 160 meters, width – 30 meters, depth – 11 meters.

Source: RIA Novosti

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