Infrastructure
Atomflot: Nuclear reactor service life for atomic icebreakers extended to 200,000 hours for the first time

Atomflot: Nuclear reactor service life for atomic icebreakers extended to 200,000 hours for the first time

The company Atomflot has completed scheduled work to extend the Vaigach nuclear-powered icebreaker's reactor from 175,000 to 200,000 hours, which will enable the vessel to operate a further five years, through to 2022, RIA Novosti said, citing a press release by Atomflot.

"Taking into account the increased volume of work in the Northern Sea Route region, we need to keep four nuclear-powered icebreakers in working state, and starting from 2019, there will be five ships operating," said Atomflot First Deputy General Director and Chief Engineer Mustafa Kashka. He also said that scheduled work to extend reactor service lives has been underway since the 1990s. The nuclear icebreaker Arktika, for example, had its reactor's service life extended to 177,000 hours.

OKBM Afrikantov (Experimental Machine-Building Design Bureau), which designed the icebreakers' reactors, was involved in the service life extension work. Its specialists headed a consortium of companies (TsKB Iceberg, SKBK, TsKBM, and NPF TsKBA), which carried out the research work and feasibility studies for the service life extension work.

"The Vaigach's reactor originally had a service life of 100,000 hours, but the experience built up in operating these installations and exclusive knowledge of their functioning enabled the specialists from Atomflot and OKBM Afrikantov to effectively double the icebreaker's service life," company representatives said.

Work is currently underway to extend the service life of the Taimyr nuclear icebreaker's reactor to 200,000 hours. This work is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017.

The program to extend reactor service lives will enable Atomflot to operate icebreakers without any interruption and, if all contractual obligations are respected, to make a smooth transition to operating the new universal project 22220 nuclear icebreakers.