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    Russia to build new-generation nuclear icebreaker by 2015

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    Russia is planning to complete the construction of a third-generation nuclear-powered icebreaker by 2015, the head of the state nuclear corporation Rosatom said on Tuesday.

    ST. PETERSBURG, April 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is planning to complete the construction of a third-generation nuclear-powered icebreaker by 2015, the head of the state nuclear corporation Rosatom said on Tuesday.

    Responsibility for Russia's nuclear icebreaker fleet was handed over to Rosatom from the Murmansk Shipping Company on August 27, 2008.

    "A federal program has allocated 17 billion rubles [$500 mln] for the development of a new-generation icebreaker," Sergei Kiriyenko said.

    Kiriyenko said the Iceberg Design Bureau in St. Petersburg would prepare the design of the icebreaker by 2010. "This should be a double-hull icebreaker capable of moving in rivers and seas," he said.

    The Russian nuclear chief also said the ship would be most likely built at the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard in St. Petersburg.

    Russia has been recently taking steps to revive the country's nuclear icebreaker fleet to ensure a continuing presence in the Arctic.

    High Arctic territories, seen as the key to huge untapped natural resources, have increasingly been at the center of mounting disputes between the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark in recent years as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice.

    Russia is due to submit to the UN new data on the boundaries of its continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean.

    President Dmitry Medvedev said in September at a Russian Security Council session that the Arctic shelf was a guarantee of Russia's energy security and that the Arctic should become a resource base for Russia this century, adding that "about 20% of Russia's GDP and 22% of Russian exports are produced" in the area.

    Russia has undertaken two Arctic expeditions - to the Mendeleyev underwater chain in 2005 and to the Lomonosov ridge in the summer of 2007 - to support its territorial claims in the region.

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