NS Yakutia icebreaker

Specifications of NS Yakutia icebreaker

Year of build2024 new ship
Flag state Russia
BuilderBaltiysky Zavod/Baltic Shipyard (St Petersburg, Russia)
ClassRussian nuclear icebreaker (LC-60YA-class, Project 22220)
Building costRUB 50 billion (USD 720M / EUR 640M)
Engines (power)RITM-200 nuclear reactors (350 MW / 469358 hp)
Propulsion power110 MW / 147512 hp
Speed22 kn / 41 km/h / 25 mph
Length (LOA)173 m / 568 ft
Beam (width)34 m / 112 ft
Gross Tonnage33540 gt
Passengers64 - 128
Decks with cabins5
Sister-shipsNS Arktika (2020), NS Sibir (2021), NS Ural (2022), NS Chukotka (2026), NS Leningrad (2028), NS Stalingrad (2030)
Christened byVictoria Valeriyevna Abramchenko
OwnerRussian Federation (via FSUE Atomflot)
OperatorRosatom (Rosmorport)

NS Yakutia icebreaker Review

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NS Yakutia ("атомный ледокол Якутия") is a new design (world's largest) Russian nuclear icebreaker. "NS" stands for "nuclear ship". The vessel is state-owned (by the Russian Federation via FSUE Atomflot) and operated by Rosatom. Atomflot provides all Russian nuclear icebreakers with maintenance and technological services. The company also serves the country's special vessel fleet.

NS Yakutia is currently scheduled for delivery to FSUE Atomflot and commissioning in December 2024.

The vessel (IMO number 9911202) is Russia-flagged (MMSI 273654582) and registered in Murmansk.

Besides NS Yakutia, the list of other active Russian nuclear icebreakers includes Rossiya (2027/Project Leader), Sibir (2021/sistership), Ural (2022/sistership), Arktika (2020/sistership), Chukotka (2026/sistership), Leningrad (2028/sistership), Stalingrad (2030/sistership), Taymyr (1989), Vaygach (1990), Yamal (1992), 50 Let Pobedy (2007).

Among the newest and largest Russian icebreakers, Yakutia is the 5th of the "Project 22220" ships (aka LK-60Ya). This is a special class of 7x nuclear-powered icebreakers designed and constructed in Russia.

Being the fifth in the series, Yakutia's construction/assembly officially started with the keel-laying ceremony on May 26, 2020. The vessel (hull/yard number 05709) was launched/floated out from drydock on November 22, 2022, and is currently planned for delivery/commissioning in December 2024.

These sisterships are currently the world's ever-biggest and most powerful icebreakers, surpassing the "nuclear cruise ship" 50 Let Pobedy (50 Years of Victory) by length (14 m longer) and width (4 m wider).

NS Yakutia icebreaker (nuclear ship)

Negotiations between the Russian companies Atomflot and USC (United Shipbuilding Corporation) have been lengthy. In early 2013, the federal government allocated RUB (rubles) 86,1 billion (or ~USD 1,3 billion) for the project. Rosatom (also state-owned corporation) insisted that the two ice-breaking ships should have a total building cost of RUB 77,5 billion (~USD 1,2 billion). However, the offer was declined by the shipbuilder Baltic Shipyard (aka Baltiisky Yard). A second tender with the adjusted shipbuilding price of RUB 84,4 billion was announced in Dec 2013.

Due to the vessel's dual-draft (8,7 m / 10,5 m), Yakutia icebreaker's itinerary program is based on Northern Sea Route shipping assistance and includes Arctic Russia sea navigation as well as polar river services. The ship's operational regions in the Arctic Ocean includes Barents Sea, Kara Seas, Pechora River, Yenisei River estuary, Ob River (Gulf of Ob).

Russia's nuclear fleet of ice-breaking vessels is used exclusively in the Arctic Ocean for escorting merchant ships and assisting research stations floating in the ice-covered waters north of Siberia. These ships are also used for scientific and Arctic cruise expeditions. The Russian nuclear ice-breakers must sail in ice-cold waters to effectively cool their reactors.

NS Yakutia vessel details

Project 22220 class Russian nuclear ships have minimal draught 8,6 m (28 ft) and max draught 10,5 m (34 ft). The dual-draft design makes these vessels capable of operating in both the Arctic Ocean and in ice-covered rivers.

new Arktika-class Russian icebreaker ship design (Project 22220)

Project 22220 icebreakers are equipped with two RITM-200 nuclear reactors with a total of 350 MW thermal capacity. The propulsion power output is 1100 MW. The previous design was for 60 MW output (the reason why this class is alternatively known as "LK-60"). RITM-200 model is a pressurized water reactor developed by OKBM Afrikantov (Russian mechanical engineering company) and designed to produce power output 55 MWe (megawatt electrical). RITM-200 uses up to 20% enriched uranium-235. The reactor is refueled every 7 years and has planned lifespan 40 years. RITM-200 is also used to power Russia's newest and most powerful aircraft carriers (Project 23000E).

Yakutia ship's maximum ice-breaking capability is 2,8 m (9 ft) at cruising speed between 1,5-2 knots (2,8 kph / 1,7 mph).

In May 2015 was reported that Russia made a decision on the development of the design for its newest nuclear-powered icebreakers to be able to move across Arctic ice of thickness up to 4.5 m / 15 ft. The icebreaker features propulsion power of 110 MW. Russia's new icebreakers are nearly twice as powerful as Project 22220 nuclear ships.

new Arktika-class Russian icebreaker ship design (Project 22220)

The steel for the Yakutia ship (thick plate "Mill 5000") was supplied by the MMK company (Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works). The company is one of the world's largest producers and supplies with steel over 50% of Russia's shipbuilding. Steel plate "Mill 5000" is used for manufacturing Russia's naval fleet, as well as for building tankers and ice-class vessels. The steel is certified internationally, including by Lloyd's Register and Bureau Veritas.

NS Yakutia vessel has 1 dining room, Sauna, Library, Auditorium, Passenger Lounge, Volleyball Court, Gymnasium, 1 swimming pool (indoor, heated), Infirmary, 1 elevator, 1 helipad (helicopter deck) with a Mi-2 transport helicopter.

  • DWT Deadweight tonnage: 9000 tons
  • Displacement tonnage: 33540 tons
  • Clear path width: 50 m (164 ft)
  • Draught: 8,6 m (28 ft min), 10,5 m (35 ft max)
  • Height: 52 m (171 ft)
  • Icebreaking capacity: 2,8 m (9 ft)
  • Ice-class 9 (highest)
  • Lifespan: 40 years (designated service life)
  • Range: unlimited
  • Powerplant: 2x RITM-200 nuclear reactors (175 MW each/total power output 350 MW)
  • Propulsion: 3 shafts (combined power output 110 MW)

Russia's Project 22220 ships have an endurance of 6 months (provisions) and 7 years (nuclear reactor fuel).

Note: In the case of poor AIS coverage, tracking the vessel's current location will be impossible.

You can see CruiseMapper's list of all icebreakers and ice-breaking research ships in the "itinerary" section of our Icebreakers hub. All states and their fleets are listed there.

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One of the world's largest icebreaking vessels, Yakutia was launched (floated out from drydock) on November 22, 2022 (postponed from 2021-Q2 due to the COVID crisis) at the Baltic Shipyard in Sankt Petersburg. The launch ceremony was led by godmother Victoria Valeriyevna Abramchenko (Виктория Абрамченко/1975-born Russian politician and economist, appointed in 2021 as Russian Federation's Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Russia's agro-industrial complex, natural resources and ecology).

The vessel's construction/assembly officially started with the keel-laying ceremony on May 26, 2020. The special event was attended by Denis Manturov (Russian Federation's Minister of Industry and Trade), Vyacheslav Ruksha (ROSATOM's Deputy Director-General) and Alexei Kadilov (Baltic Shipyard's Director-General).

The ship has two nuclear reactors (RITM-200 steam generator/power plant), each with thermal capacity 175 MW (350 MV combined power output).

The shipbuilding contract for two more "Project 22220" units (Yakutia and Chukotka/ to 5x icebreakers total) was signed in August 2019. Based on the contract, the shipbuilding cost per unit is RUB 50 billion (~USD 720 million / ~EUR 640 million).

NS Yakutia icebreaker (nuclear ship)

The icebreaker is named after Yakutia (originally Sakha) - one of the Russian Federation's republics, with population around 1 million. By land area (approx 3,084 million km2 / 1,191 million mi2), Yakutia/Sakha is currently the world's largest subnational governing body. The Republic's capital city is Yakutsk (population around 320,000). Yakutsk is also a major cargo port on Lena River. In Sakha were also recorded Northern Hemisphere's lowest temperatures (-89,2 C / -128,6 F). Via satellite observations, lower temperatures were recorded only in Antarctica (-93,2 C / -135,8 F).

On September 5, 2021, Rosatom's Deputy Director (Maxim Kulinko) stated that the Northern Sea Route's year-round service requires two additional Project 22220 ships (6th and 7th). In April 2022 was announced that the Russian Federation plans to allocate from the federal budget RUB 118 billion (~USD 1,7B / EUR 1,6B) for the two icebreakers (cost per unit RUB 59B / USD 851M / EUR 807M), with scheduled deliveries in 2028 (Leningrad) and 2030 (Stalingrad).

As Project 22220 vessels can navigate both deep (sea) and shallow waters (river estuaries), ROSATOM received two types of ice-breaking ships for the price of one, which means saving hundreds of millions of USD.

NS Yakutia and its sisterships are of utmost importance for Russia's strategy to open the Northern Sea Route (NSR) for commercial and military operations the whole year round. By 2030, the NSR will serve vessels carrying 150+ million tonnes of shipments. The Russian Government gave ROSATOM the lead in the route's 6-year infrastructure development project, with total funding RUB 734,9 billion (USD 11,37 billion / EUR 10,17). Of those, RUB 274 billion were provided by the Government, while the remaining RUB 460+ billion were provided by investors, the largest among which are ROSATOM, ROSNEFT and NOVATEK.

ROSATOM (2007-founded) is a state-owned nuclear energy corporation headquartered in Moscow. It comprises over 360 companies and organizations, specializing in scientific research and nuclear weapons, as well as the world's only fleet of nuclear icebreakers. In 2017, ROSATOM produced 202,868 billion kWh of electricity annually or 18,9% of Russia's total electricity. Corporation's construction projects include 33 nuclear powerplant units installed and maintained in 12 countries. It also manufactures related equipment, produces isotopes for nuclear medicine, conducts research and studies, produces supercomputers and software, develops renewable energy technologies (including wind turbines). ROSATOM covers 17,7% of the world's nuclear fuel market and ~35% market share of the global Uranium enrichment services.

ROSNEFT (1993-founded) is a state-controlled gas and oil corporation headquartered in Moscow. The company specializes in research, extraction, production, refinement and transportation of natural gas and petroleum. ROSNEFT is ranked Russia's 3rd largest company and the country's 2nd-largest state-controlled (after Gazprom) and the world's 24th largest oil company in terms of revenue (FY2017 - USD 103 billion / EUR 92,09 billion).

NOVATEK (1994-founded) is Russia's 2nd-largest natural gas producer and the world's 7th-largest stock-listed company by annual natural gas production volume. The company is listed and traded on London (LSE) and Moscow (MCX) stock exchanges. Major shareholders are Leonid Michelson (CEO, ~28%), Volga Group (23%), Total SA (French multinational, ~16%) and Gazprom (9,4%).