Two Russian nuclear icebreakers have met up somewhere on the endless white plains of the Arctic Ocean, providing for a sight both spectacular and romantic.
The video, posted by Russia’s nuclear agency Rosatom, showed its Taymyr and Vaygach icebreakers almost touching with their bows, before settling in to “cuddle” side by side. Check the video below.
A nuclear-powered icebreaker (Russian – атомный ледокол) is a nuclear-powered ship purpose-built for use in waters covered with ice. The only country constructing nuclear-powered icebreakers is Russia. Nuclear-powered icebreakers have been constructed by the Soviet Union and later Russia primarily to aid shipping along the Northern Sea Route in the frozen Arctic waterways north of Siberia. Nuclear-powered icebreakers are much more powerful than their diesel-powered counterparts, and although nuclear propulsion is expensive to install and maintain, very heavy fuel demands and limitations on range, compounded with the difficulty of refueling in arctic region, can make diesel vessels less practical and economical overall for these ice-breaking duties.
During the winter, the ice along the Northern Sea Route varies in thickness from 1.2 to 2.0 metres (3.9 to 6.5 feet). The ice in central parts of the Arctic Ocean is on average 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) thick. Nuclear-powered icebreakers can force through this ice at speeds up to 10 knots (19 km/h, 12 mph). In ice-free waters, the maximum speed of the nuclear-powered icebreakers is as much as 21 knots (39 km/h, 24 mph).