The Northern Sea Route to be cleared by icebreakers

The government will allocate 118 billion rubles for two more LK-60

Rosatom managed to achieve additional funding for the NSR infrastructure development.  As Kommersant found out, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin instructed to allocate 118 billion rubles from the budget until 2030 for the construction of two more nuclear icebreakers, as well as 25 billion rubles on a nuclear-technological support vessel. About 7 billion rubles will be directed to the construction of the Bukhta Sever and Northern Star ports. Financing will allow year-round transportation of goods in the east direction, which, according to analysts, will be the most promising against the background of sanctions.

Kommersant got acquainted with the list of orders of Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin of 15 April.  In particular, the Ministry of Finance should provide the allocation of an additional 118 billion rubles in 2023-2030 for the construction of two more nuclear-powered icebreakers LK-60. They are expected to be ready by 2028 and 2029. Rosatom and the Ministry of Finance confirmed to Kommersant that the instructions were being developed.

Rosatom has already built two 60 MW nuclear icebreaker of the "Arctic" type, three more are under construction, as well as the 120 MW head icebreaker project "Leader".  Taking into account the instructions of the Prime Minister, by 2030 Atomflot may have eight new nuclear-powered icebreakers, as well as 50 Let Pobedy with an extended service life. It is also planned to build four LNG-powered icebreakers at private expense.

New icebreakers are needed for year-round export of goods from the Arctic to the east.  According to government plans, the transportation of goods by the Northern Sea Route (NSR) is expected to increase from 35 million tons in 2021 to 80 million tons by 2024, and by 2035 - up to 150 million tons.

Rosatom had worked towards funding for new icebreakers for several years, but, according to Kommersant, the Ministry of Finance faced with serious resistance.

Now the Prime Minister instructed to allocate and 25 billion rubles for the construction of ship nuclear service, which will be built by 2028 to serve new icebreakers, particularly for nuclear refueling.

Besides, Rosatom will receive the functions of organizing navigation on the NSR, which the Ministry of Transport previously had. The government decided to redistribute powers after more than two dozen ships got stuck in the NSR waters in the autumn of 2021 (see Kommersant of January 18).

Rosatom, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Transport should also allocate 6.7 billion rubles for the construction of federal property facilities in the ports of Taimyr "Bay Sever" (for the export of oil from the Vostok Oil project of Rosneft) and Northern Star (for the export of coal from the Syradasaysky field of the AEON group of Roman Trotsenko). We are talking about the construction of the mooring wall, dredging and ice protection structures. Previously, these funds were intended for the construction of an Arc7 ice-class hydrographic vessel, but it was not possible to find a shipyard for it (see Kommersant of September 20, 2021). It was originally planned to build three hydrographic vessels, now the plans will be changed. "In the current geopolitical situation, NSR is the most protected sea communications from the external impact, which allows to implement major economic projects", - emphasized Rosatom.

They noted that since the beginning of 2021, systematic work has been performed to form measures for the development of the NSR infrastructure, “the result was the support of the prime minister, approved by the president, regarding decisions on the rapid implementation of measures to develop the NSR as a maritime transport corridor that provides the connection of the Far Eastern and Northwestern regions of the country, as well as an international corridor for the transportation of domestic products to the markets of the Asia-Pacific region.

Due to large-scale Western sanctions, Asia that will become the most promising, if not the only direction for Russian industry, Mikhail Grigoriev, head of the Gekon consulting center, believes. In his opinion, the continuation of the construction of 60 MW icebreakers, and not the "giants" of the "Leader" type, is a strategically correct decision that will allow Baltzavod and its Russian contractors to be loaded. Besides, the expert adds, it is easier and cheaper to build vessels of the same type.


Source: Kommersant