Reactor Plants for Nuclear Icebreakers and Other Vessels

Russia is the only country in the world that has a fleet of civil nuclear-powered ships. Nuclear icebreakers have been operating in the Arctic region for more than 50 years, thus providing reliable and safe pilotage of cargo ships along the entire North Sea Route.

The first reactor plant for a civil vessel, the "Lenin" nuclear icebreaker, was designed by OKBM in 1955. The Arctic navigation of the icebreaker started in 1959 and continued until 1989 resulting in the pilotage of 3700 vessels in ice fields, which confirmed the high efficiency of the nuclear energy application for icebreakers.

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The first reactor plant for a civil vessel, the "Lenin" nuclear icebreaker

The successful operation of the first nuclear-powered icebreaker initiated a new branch of industry, the nuclear shipbuilding. Eight more nuclear-powered icebreakers ("Arctica", "Siberia", "Russia", "Soviet Union", "Taymyr", "Vaygach", "Yamal", "50 Let Pobedy") and "Sevmorput" ocean-going lighter with ice reinforcement were built in Russia between 1975 and 2006.

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The nuclear-powered icebreaker Vaigach in the port of Dudnik.

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Soviet / Russian icebreaking vessel (lighter) with an atomic power plant of the KLT-40 type Sevmorput. The largest displacement of four ever built non-military merchant ships with a nuclear power plant.

OKBM developed 3 RP modifications for them: OK-900A, KLT-40, KLT-40M. The whole set of systems and equipment for these RPs was developed and commissioned with participation of OKBM specialists.

Type of APSS, name of the vessel

ОК-150 «Lenin» ОК-900 «Lenin» ОК-900А "Arctic",
"Siberia", "Russia",   
"Soviet Union", Yamal,
"50 Years of Victory"

KLT-40 Sevmorput


KLT-40M "Taimyr" "Vaigach"

Thermal power of the reactor, MW

3х90 2х159 2х171 1х135 1х171


The whole complex of systems and equipment of these installations was created and put into operation with the participation of specialists of the enterprise. Part of the equipment of the Republic of Uzbekistan was manufactured on the production basis of JSC "OKBM Afrikantov". The enterprise provides the author's support for the operation of power plants of icebreaking vessels.

The operational practice of the icebreaking fleet to date implies the posting of caravans of ships on deep-water areas by linear icebreakers. Icebreakers with limited draft are used in shallow water areas. At the same time, it is necessary to transfer the caravans from the linear icebreaker to the small icebreaker and vice versa, which leads to ship layoffs and negatively affects the economic efficiency of cargo transportation.

In order to optimize the operation of the nuclear icebreaker fleet, a project is underway to build a new generation of universal two-vessel nuclear icebreakers capable of combining the functions of both linear icebreakers and icebreakers with limited draft. For them, JSC OKBM Afrikantov created reactors of a new generation of RITM type.

RITM-200 is the newest reactor facility developed by JSC Afrikantov OKBM for the main nuclear icebreaker Arktika. The installation includes two 175 MW thermal reactors each.

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Transportation of PHB RITM-200

The length of the "Arctic" is 173 meters, width is 34 meters, the minimum working draft is 8.5 meters, displacement is 33.5 thousand tons. It is planned that the icebreaker will be able to conduct caravans of ships in arctic conditions, punching ice up to 3 meters in the course of the movement.

June 16, 2016 solemn ceremony of launching the hull of the main nuclear icebreaker Arktika took place.

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The first of the three nuclear-powered icebreaker "Arctic" project 22220, laid in 2013. Commissioning is scheduled for 2019.

On September 22, 2017, the hull of the first serial universal nuclear icebreaker Sibir was launched.


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The hull of the 1st serial universal "Siberia".

By 2021 the nuclear fleet will be replenished with a series of nuclear icebreakers of a new generation with RU RITM-200.

The JSC "Afrikantov OKBM" solves the problem of creating a RITM-400 reactor with a capacity of 110-130 MW for the nuclear-powered icebreaker "Leader", which will provide year-round navigation on the Northern Sea Route.

The developed designs of reactor plants can be used not only for nuclear icebreakers, but also for civil and ASMM vessels of floating and land based in single and modular design.

The technical solutions included in the RITM-200 RU project are provided with legal protection and today Afrikantov OKBM JSC is the right holder:

  • 8 inventions,

  • 4 useful models,

  • 21 computer programs,

  • 96 secrets of production


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