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Engine trouble gets Russia's new mega icebreaker stuck in sea trials

THE nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika that is destined for the Northern Sea Route and has been undergoing trials had to be rescued by tug boats after an electrical propulsion motor experienced technical problems

20 February 2020 - 19:00

THE nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika that is destined for the Northern Sea Route and has been undergoing trials had to be rescued by tug boats after an electrical propulsion motor experienced technical problems.

A Russian commission is now considering ways to solve the problem. If the whole engine needs to be replaced, it could lead to major delays. The 173-metre-long and 34-metre-wide Project 22220 (LK60Ya) class vessel was originally planned to be handed over from the Baltic yard to state nuclear power company Rosatom this May, The Independent Barents Observer reported.



Sea trials of the nuclear-powered icebreaker started in mid-December 2019. Those first sea trials happened without the reactors running.



'We didn't have time to complete the launch of the reactors. This first part will be with backup generators,' Russia's Northern Sea Route directorate head Vyacheslav Ruksha said. He declined to comment on which problems are the reason for the delayed start-up of the icebreaker's main power source, the reactors.



Arktika is the lead vessel in the new class of powerful nuclear-powered icebreakers of which five will be built.



A second, and longer, test voyage is slated for March-April before the icebreaker is subsequently to sail around Scandinavia to its homeport of Murmansk on Russia's Barents Sea coast.



The main waters of operation for the new ship will be from the Kara Sea and further east along the Northern Sea Route.


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