Russia, eyeing Arctic future, launches nuclear icebreaker

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on May 25, 2019 - Duration: 01:02s

Russia, eyeing Arctic future, launches nuclear icebreaker

In a battle to dominate the Arctic seas, Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday.

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Russia, eyeing Arctic future, launches nuclear icebreaker

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NO REPORTER NARRATION.

Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday (May 25), part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic's commercial potential.

The ship, dubbed the Ural and which was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg, is one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR) which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia's state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

President Vladimir Putin said in April Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.

The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow's hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

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