The Arktika, which became famous for rescuing ships stuck in ice masses in the Northern Seaway in late 1983, was built at the Baltic Shipbuilding Works in Leningrad and commissioned in 1975.
According to an expert at the Murmansk Shipping Company, the Arktika has proven the economic expediency of using nuclear propulsion systems on board ships. The high reliability of the systems makes the navigation area unlimited, reduces the downtime of icebreakers and improves their economic performance, decreasing shipping costs along the Northern Seaway.
The icebreaker first made its way to the North Pole on August 17, 1977.
In May 2000, the Arktika became the world's first icebreaker to have operated for a year without docking at a port, thereby proving its reliability 25 years after it had been commissioned (the projected lifespan of the atomic icebreaker).
The task to prolong the atomic icebreaker's service life was successfully completed in 2003 for the first time in history. This extended the reactor's life to 175,000 hours, with the initial service life estimated at 100,000 hours. Arktika will continue piloting ships down the Northern Seaway for another five to seven years.