Hoping to develop the Northern Sea Route across the Arctic into an international shipping lane, Russia is building a group of icebreakers to be powered with liquefied natural gas.
Russia already has the world's only fleet of nuclear powered icebreakers but under president Vladimir Putin the objective is that its country's naval fleet, both surface and submersibles, has the power to match those of the United States and China.
Rosatom head Alexei Likhachev said that Russia was now returning to building LNG powered icebreakers and by the end of the year two to four medium sized vessels will be on the production line.
Moscow has named the state nuclear energy company Rosatom as the operator of the Northern Sea Route, and turning it into a global shipping lane as the Arctic ice continues to melt.
Likhachev said that an agreement signed with gas producer Novatek back in 2018 to develop LNG-powered icebreakers had been resurfaced, among other things because each LNG powered unit costs half the US$ 820 million price for a nuclear powered icebreaker.
Likewise Likhachev also informed that Rosatom had ordered two additional nuclear powered icebreakers, which will be added to the Arktica (picture) launched last year, the first of our in development.
Russia not only wants to have an unmatched Arctic Northern Route presence, but also to increase cargo transported to some 80 million tons from 33 million tons.