29 Apr 2022 11:44

Russia to allocate 118 bln rubles for two new nuclear icebreakers - paper

MOSCOW. April 29 (Interfax) - Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom has managed to secure additional financing for the development of Northern Sea Route (NSR) infrastructure, as Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the allocation of 118 billion rubles in budget funding to 2030 for the construction of another two nuclear icebreakers, national daily Kommersant reported on Friday, citing a list of instructions issued on April 15.

The Finance Ministry is supposed to "ensure the allocation" of an extra 118 billion rubles in 2023-2030 for the construction of two more LK-60 nuclear powered icebreakers that are expected to be completed by 2028 and 2029, the paper said.

Rosatom has been lobbying for funding for new icebreakers for several years, but was met with significant opposition from the Finance Ministry. However, now the prime minister has also ordered the allocation of 25 billion rubles for the construction of a nuclear maintenance vessel that is expected to be built by 2028 to service new icebreakers, including for reloading of nuclear fuel, the paper said.

Rosatom will also be given responsibilities for organizing shipping along the NSR that were previously held by the Transport Ministry, the paper said. The government decided to redistribute this authority after more than 20 vessels got stuck in ice in NSR waters in the fall of 2021.

In addition, Rosatom, the Finance Ministry, Economic Development Ministry and Transport Ministry are supposed to allocate 6.7 billion rubles for the construction of federal infrastructure at two ports on the Taimyr Peninsula: Sever Bay, for shipping oil from Rosneft's Vostok Oil project; and North Star, for shipping coal from the Syradasaiskoye deposit of Roman Trotsenko's Aeon Corporation. This refers to construction of a moorage wall, dredging and ice barriers.

Previously, these funds were earmarked for the construction of an Arc7 ice class hydrographic vessel, but a shipyard was not found to build it. Initially there were plans to build three hydrographic vessels, but now the plans will be revised.

Rosatom and the Finance Ministry confirmed that the instructions are in the works, the paper said.

It was reported earlier that Rosatom planned to expand the line of Project 22220 nuclear icebreakers with two new ones (fifth and sixth serial icebreakers). The company previously estimated the cost of building them at 120 billion rubles.

Construction of the flagship Project 22220 icebreaker, the Arktika, began at United Shipbuilding Corporation's Baltic Shipyard in November 2013. It was put in the water in June 2016 and commissioned in October 2020.

Rosatom signed an 84.4 billion ruble contract with Baltic Shipyard for the construction of the first and second serial Project 22220 icebreakers, the Sibir and Ural, in May 2014. The Sibir was completed and joined Russia's nuclear fleet in December 2021. The Ural is expected to be commissioned in November 2022.

Baltic Shipyard is now also building the third and fourth serial icebreakers, the Yakutia and Chukotka, at a cost of more than 100 billion rubles. They are expected to be commissioned in 2024 and 2026.