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    The Arktika ice-breaker seen in the Baltiysky Zavod shipyard, St.Petersburg.

    Russia Lays Down Nuclear-Powered Ural Icebreaker at Baltic Shipyard

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    Russia’s second serial project 22220 nuclear-powered icebreaker Ural has been laid down in St. Petersburg on Monday, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported.

    ST. PETERSBURG (Sputnik) — The Arktika, the first project 22220 class ship and the first nuclear icebreaker to be fully built in modern-day Russia, was successfully launched at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg on June 16. The second ship, the Sibir, was laid down at the shipyard in May 2015.

    "We are laying the icebreaker ahead of schedule, since the Ural was supposed to be laid down approximately two months later. But it is fundamentally important that the impetus gained by the plant and the team engaged in the construction of new icebreakers is maintained," Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Rosatom that ordered the icebreaker, said at the keel-laying ceremony.

    He added that the Arktika would be fully operational by the end of 2017, the Sibir in 2019, while the Ural at the end of 2020.

    The icebreakers of the Project 22220 are the world’s largest and most powerful vessels of their kind, fitted with two specifically designed RITM-200 nuclear-power reactors. The new vessels will be able to escort convoys in the Arctic, breaking ice up to almost 10 feet thick.

    Moreover, design work for Russia’s next-generation Lider icebreaker is planned to begin this year, Kirienko added.

    "Design for the new generation ‘Lider’ icebreaker should begin in 2016," Kirienko told reporters.

    United Shipbuilding Corporation President Alexei Rakhmanov added that the design work would end in 1.5 years, followed by project financing.

    "Then it would be clear at what stage of development can we lay the first section and start building," Rakhmanov said of the ship with advanced features.

    Kirienko compared the Lider’s characteristics with that of the project 22220 nuclear-powered icebreakers, saying if the latter operates in three-meter (9.8 feet) thick ice, then the Lider should break through ice that is a meter thicker (13.12 feet).

    "These are unique characteristics. You do not need a large number of these icebreakers. These are unique tasks," he underscored.

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    project 22220, Ural, Russia, Saint Petersburg
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