Ural: Nuclear-Powered Ice Breaker

Russia has launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker named Ural in bid to tap the potential of the Arctic region. It is touted as the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

It is estimated that the Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas. Ural is part of the strategy to exploit this potential.

Tapping the Potential of Arctic

  • Ural is part of Russia’s ambitious programme to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels for improving its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.
  • Ural is aimed at preparing Russian ports for more traffic via the Northern Sea Route (NSR)which it envisages being navigable year-round.

Ural is expected to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 along with the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service.

Northern Sea Route

The melting ice-sheets have opened up previously inaccessible Arctic shipping lanes. Now the attempts are being made to exploit the navigation potential in the region through Northern Sea Route.

Northern Sea Route is officially defined by Russia as running along the Russian Arctic coast from the Kara Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait. It lies in Arctic waters and within Russia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).


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