The tasks of this powerful flotilla are truly strategic: the icebreakers support the stable operation of the Northern Sea Route, as well as provide access to the regions of the Far North and the Arctic shelf. They carry Norilsk ore, the Arkhangelsk forest, the northern delivery and spent nuclear fuel.
The USA, Canada, Finland and Sweden have their own icebreaking fleet. But no country in the world has such ice work opportunities as ours. We were convinced of this by visiting the heart of the Russian nuclear fleet on the basis of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Rosatomflot and the icebreaker 50 Years of Victory.
The base of "Rosatomflot" can be seen from afar: against the background of the hills, like the Arctic "convoy" of icebreakers lined up, which protects the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. Well, here he is with a "humanitarian mission" - he got up to clean the feathers before summer work in the Mediterranean.
First of all, we were invited to our office by Mustafa Kashka, First Deputy General Director and Chief Engineer, and told us what the future icebreaker would be and what its captain should be able to do.
“The atomic icebreaking fleet experienced three stages of development,” he says, “The first stage is the icebreaker Lenin. The second stage began in 70-ies with the descent of the icebreakers Arktika, Sibir and Russia. Then there were two small-seat icebreaker. We consider them "melkosyaschimi" because simply large 75 000 horsepower, and they 50 000.
They were built for river navigation of vessels, primarily for the Yenisei. This stage is associated with the development of the Norilsk industrial region. "The third stage, which has arrived, is associated with the development of hydrocarbon energy.
Now three contracts have been signed for the construction of three nuclear-powered icebreakers, which are being built at the Baltic plant in St. Petersburg, and these will be new-generation icebreakers, ”Kashka specified.
Active development of the Northern Sea Route is sometimes associated with global warming and melting ice. But the chief engineer does not quite agree with this: "The cyclical melting of the ice has always been. Sea-going icebreakers clearly know: if, for example, the situation in the western sector is harsh, it will be better in the east, and vice versa. There has always been a two-year oscillation of ice thawing."
The development of the Arctic is in fact primarily related to the improvement of technology.
Let us remember: if before us the plane dropped the tubes with maps on the ice, now satellite electronic maps allow us to count each walrus on a stove bench. Technologies have changed regarding the knowledge of ice, its effects on ship hulls. "It is important for us, icebreakers, what channel remains for you, so that the back-end vessel does not beat over the fragments. After all, the icebreaker crushes with a mass."
Of course, Mustafa Kashka is right: there are several dozen types of ice alone: sea, spongy, glacier, ice fields, frost, and even ice fat!
Why is an atomic installation installed on icebreakers? It is curious that in addition to submarines, two options for the installation of a nuclear installation were initially considered - on whaling bases (then the fishery was allowed) and on ships. As a result, stopped on the ships. Nuclear power plant is needed where long-term autonomy is needed.
“My personal record is a year of autonomous residence at sea. We went to sea on the Arctic icebreaker 3 in May 1999, and for the first time entered the 4 port in May 2000, there were two crew changes. Where power is needed over 30 000 horses, and where autonomy is required, nuclear power is most efficient. "
For example, for a ship with an 75 000 horsepower, equipped with a diesel engine, 350 - 400 tons of fossil fuel per day would be needed. That is, a good tanker would be burned in a month. But, in any case, the numbers here - not the main thing.
Atomic fleet can not be a source of income. This is a purely infrastructure project. It gives new opportunities for development. And the Northern Sea Route is the national transport artery.
What is required of the captain in the first place, and who is worthy of walking and commanding an atomic giant breaking up the ice?
Earlier in the description of the sailors was the mark: "Sea quality: good." Everything was evaluated, including work in a closed team, but the basic requirement is the will and ability to work with people.
On board the icebreaker "50 years of Victory" we are met by Dmitry Viktorovich Lobusov, the real captain, the atomic sea wolf and, as it turned out, our colleague in the living magazine - dmitry_v_ch_l.
He shows us the whole vessel, from the captain’s bridge to its atomic heart.
"50 years of Victory" - the world's largest nuclear-powered icebreaker (project 10521) and the pride of Russia. It was laid under the name "Ural" on October 4 of the year at the Baltic Plant in Leningrad, but it was put into operation only in the year of 1989. Then simply did not have enough money to build ...
1 February 2007, an icebreaker, entered the Gulf of Finland for sea trials that lasted two weeks. The Russian flag was raised on 23 in March on 2007 of the year, and on April X the icebreaker came to the permanent port of registry, Murmansk.
30 July 2013 to the ship participated in the hundredth expedition to the North Pole. 85 once the top of the planet visited Russian icebreakers, 15 times - foreign.
All in all, there were 118 ships at the North Pole. And "50 Years of Victory" - among them.
This Arctic-class icebreaker is not just handsome, but also strong: its power is 75 000 horsepower, and the displacement is 25168 tons.
The length of 159,6 meters, the width of 30 meters, the height of the 17,2 freeboard and the average draft is equal to 11 meters.
Like airplanes, ships also have their registration numbers, by which they can be tracked on the maritime "flytradar".
The official call sign of the 50 Anniversary of the Victory icebreaker: Uniform Golf Yankee Uniform.
For those who are not familiar with the phonetic alphabet:
Since the vessel is constantly maneuvering in the ice, there are always 3 people on the watch: watch crew, watch officer and senior captain assistant. There are three of them on the icebreaker, while the captain can only have one in the entire fleet.
We were a few days before the icebreaker went to sea, so for now it’s empty.
A machine telegraph is a device for sending, from the ship's wheelhouse to the engine room, commands to change the engine operating mode.
The handles control the speed of rotation of the screws, each has a 41 position - 20 forward, 20 back and stop.
Converting screws from Full Forward to Full Back (reversing) takes only 11 seconds.
Oleg tries the steering wheel on the spot of the steering sailor - the icebreaker is controlled quite easily.
Pay attention to the cornice for the curtain around the place of the watchman, where he takes notes in the log.
When the icebreaker goes into the night, the light on the bridge is not turned on, so that you can see what is happening outside. Therefore, the working space is fenced off with a curtain so that the light of the lamp does not interfere.
The estimated thickness of ice that the 75 power of thousands of horses allows to overcome is 2,8 meters, that is, it crushes even perennial pack ice into crumb. On the icebreaker, a spoon-shaped form of the nasal tip was used, which allows the ice to be broken so that it does not interfere with the vessels being carried out: the icebreaker will pile on or “float” on the ice and simply break it.
The thickness of the side of the icebreaker is the thickest among the icebreakers of the class "Arctic" - 5 centimeters (others have half a centimeter less).
Its keel is partially covered with a layer of stainless steel to reduce corrosion and friction.
Blue marked ballast compartments where you can pump water, and quickly pump its stern to the bow and back. This is necessary if the icebreaker gets stuck in the ice. Then, by pumping the ballast, the ship is “shaken” like an ax stuck in a log, and it is released from the shackles of ice.
The scheme is larger by click.
The atomic reactor control room is a small nuclear power plant.
The reactors themselves could not be removed, but they look almost the same as on Lenin.
Atomic icebreaker can seriously be called a steamer! Because it works for a couple.
The atomic reactor heats the "dirty" water, that through the heat exchanger transfers the heat to the "clean" water, it turns into superheated steam, which turns the turbines. Turbines spin generators that produce electricity. And it, among other things, goes to electric motors that twist the propellers. On the ship there are two nuclear reactors, the total power of the power plant: 75 000 HP
And this icebreaker is capable of chopping ice with screws. If you can’t get through in any way, then the icebreaker turns around astern and simply chops ice like a fresh carrot. "Going back through the canal, you can see the ice, milled as a half pipe. For the entire transport fleet, contact of the screw with ice is prohibitive, and we are doing this," the captain says.
Here, for example, one blade of a screw with a man for scale.
And in the white top hat there is a large inflatable boat and a supply of survival tools for several days.
The power and capabilities are also impressive: "On the 50-centimeter ice, we will walk like clear water," says Dmitry Lobusov.
Sometimes bears come to the ship. One day, "50 Years of Victory" stood in the ice of the 40 minutes, waiting for the non-scared bear to swim in the melting lake and go out of the way.
In addition to the main task of posting caravans in the Arctic seas, he also carries tourists to the North Pole, visiting the archipelago of Franz Josef Land.
On a cruise on board for tourists, there is a restaurant, gym, sauna, swimming pool, library and music room. There is a satellite TV system.
One example of a menu for the week.
The bar is located under the bridge below the floor and tourists usually spend their free time here.
Deck with cabins.
Emergency breathing devices are spread throughout the ship just in case of fire.
One of the cabins, here you can live both one and two passengers, but then someone will have to sleep on the couch.
Travel to the North Pole is available to everyone, but it costs a lot of money: today there are about $ 30 thousand.
The price includes accommodation, meals, entertainment (except for drinks in the bar).
Stairs between floors.
Conference room where the president once held a meeting.
Music Salon, which also hosts lectures.
Pool water is taken directly from the ocean and can be heated to the desired temperature.
The ship has an ecological compartment, specially equipped for waste disposal.
There is also a desalination station on the icebreaker, thanks to which the vessel is completely independent of freshwater resources.
Every day you can produce up to 120 cubic meters of distilled pure water. Half goes to technical needs, half artificially prepares to drinking (by mixing the composition of mineral salts, etc.). Thus, on the vessel no one restricts passengers in the consumption of water.
Turbines, each of which rotates simultaneously three generators, producing alternating current.
Behind them are the current rectifiers.
And all this is buzzing and rumbles ...
Below is the propeller shaft, which turns a huge electric motor. All this is located below the waterline.
The icebreaker has its own repair shop with a full set of metalworking machines, woodwork, etc.
Once the masters were able to carve a small part for a broken helicopter, thereby saving a few weeks.
There is also a chemical laboratory designed to control the water regime, drinking water, sample analysis, fuel and oil monitoring, etc. Atomic
A study in which the guys attached a hammer and sickle from an old icebreaker "Russia".
Looking at this black and red steel giant, it’s hard to believe that the first icebreaker was wooden: the vessel "City Ice Boat #1" was built in 1837 to clean the ice in the harbor of Philadelphia. Then there was the Russian tugboat "Pilot", the legendary first Arctic "Yermak" and other heroes of the conquerors-ices.
In total, with the 1959 to 1991 year in the Soviet Union was built eight nuclear-powered icebreakers and one nuclear-powered lighter. From 1991 of the year to the present, two more nuclear icebreakers were built in Russia: Yamal (1993) and 50 Years of Victory (2007). Three more nuclear icebreakers with a displacement of more than 33 thousand tons are under construction, the ice cover - almost three meters. The first one will be ready for 2017 year.
Visit the "50 years of Victory" in the port is almost impossible. Tours are not conducted. But there are “open doors” in Atomflot, you need to submit a collective application and monitor their website and social networks.
Thanks to Rosatomflot for the opportunity to see everything with my own eyes, and special thanks to the captain for the wonderful excursion!