St. Petersburg - Another of Russia’s new-line nuclear icebreakers is running afoul of construction deadlines in a delay that will likely force older ones to operate longer, a report in the business daily Kommersant said. The hull of the “Arktika”, one of Russia’s three LK-60 nuclear icebreakers, was floated in 2016 at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg. It was due to be commissioned in May of 2019, but that deadline has been pushed back to April of 2020 thanks to a delay in manufacturing its steam turbine.
The holdup may seem a relative blip for the $525 million project, but it poses the first significant clash with the timeline Russia has laid out for opening the Arctic’s Northern Sea Route to year round traffic - one of Moscow’s central economic goals.
In order to keep up with this aspiration - which has been mandated by no less than Vladimir Putin himself - it is thought that Russia will have to extend the engineered lifespans of all four nuclear powered icebreakers it currently has in service, the paper reported.