The newest Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker, the ‘Arktika’, has set off on its maiden voyage in the Arctic waters of the Northern Sea Route, AtomFlot press service reported on Monday.

“On November 14, the leading universal nuclear-powered icebreaker ‘Arktika’ left the port of Murmansk on its maiden voyage. The vessel headed towards the Kara Sea. Until mid-December, the nuclear-powered icebreaker ‘Arktika’ will operate in the Northern Sea Route,” the press service said.

The icebreaker’s first voyage will take three weeks, according to AtomFlot. After the completion of the voyage, ‘Arktika’ will return to Murmansk to replenish supplies, and will head back to the Northern Sea Route in late December. The nuclear-powered ship will conduct winter-spring navigation in the Arctic.

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The ‘Arktika’ is the lead vessel of Project 22220, a new Russian fleet of the world’s largest and most powerful nuclear-powered icebreakers. The vessels’ dual-draft concept allows for them to be operated both in the Arctic and in the mouths of the polar rivers. Two more nuclear-powered icebreakers will be put into operation under the project in the coming years.

Construction of the ‘Arktika’ started on June 16, 2016. Next year, the vessel will be equipped with a new electric propulsion motor on the starboard side to raise the ship’s power capacity to 60 megawatts.

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World’s largest & most powerful nuclear icebreaker joins Russia’s Arctic fleet

While the ‘Arktika’ is capable of breaking three-meter-thick ice, the new Leader-class icebreakers will be able to cut through a 4.3-meter-thick ice sheet, as well as staying at sea for eight months without entering port. The new icebreakers will pack twice as much punch, boasting a 120-MW powerplant, double the power output of the ‘Arktika’.

The dimensions of the Leader-class icebreaker are impressive as well. The ship will be over 210 meters long – slightly smaller than two football pitches, and 47 meters tall, equal to a 13-story building.

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