Nuclear icebreaker Sibir completes flood control work on Yenisei River

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The nuclear icebreaker Sibir, operated by Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom’s subsidiary Atomflot, has completed flood control work on the Yenisei River, according to a Rosatom statement earlier this month. 

The work of the nuclear-powered ship consisted of making additional ice channels and cuts in the riverbed to prevent possible ice jams, the statement said.  

The Yenisei River section from Cape Sopochnaya Karga to the Dudinka seaport is one of the busiest sections of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) in the Arctic waters.  

Rosatom operates nuclear-powered icebreakers that help keep the Northern Sea Route open for navigation through the year. In addition, Rosatom is equipping the NSR facilities, building port infrastructure, and developing transit.     

“For the first time, the universal nuclear icebreaker of project 22220 was used for these types of work,” the Acting Director General of Atomflot, Leonid Irlitsa, said in a statement.  

“The crew of the nuclear-powered ship had to make cuts in the main channel of the Yenisei River in the area of the Luzinsky, Nikitinsky and Funtusovsky Islands, as well as destroy the ice road connecting the left and right banks of the Yenisei River. The thickness of the ice road reached two meters. The technical capabilities of the icebreaker, the experience of the crew and the recommendations of the Marine Operations Headquarters of GlavSevmorput FGBU ensured the effective solution to this problem,” he added.  

According to Rosatom, the anti-jamming measures have been taken since May 22 this year at the request of the administration of the Taimyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky municipal district of the Krasnoyarsk Territory.  

“According to hydrometeorologists, ice drift on the Yenisei is expected with a rupture wave and jam. On the Yenisei, the technique of anti-jamming operations with the use of nuclear-powered icebreakers of the Taimyr type has been proven for years,” the statement said.  

“The first thing is the close of the port of Dudinka. After that, all ships are removed from the river. When the water level reaches 7.5-8 meters, the nuclear-powered icebreaker starts making additional channels and cuts with the destruction of the snow-ice road. These works allow avoiding ice jams and water rise above the dangerous levels,” it added.  

In November last year, the work of modernising the navigation aids on the Yenisei River was completed by Rosatom subsidiary Hydrographic Enterprises.   

Rosatom had said that as part of the modernisation work, 18 landmark beacons and 40 floating beacons, or buoys, were equipped with new software and hardware systems on the Yenisei River section of the NSR. 

The Yenisei is the fifth-longest river system in the world, and the largest to drain into the Arctic Ocean.  

Besides other nuclear-powered icebreakers currently being constructed under Rosatom’s Project 22220, work is also underway on the company’s 10510 Leader project to build a series of nuclear icebreakers during the current decade, which would supersede the Project 22220 products as the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.  

The Northern Sea Route via the Arctic is the shortest route between the East Asian and Western European ports.