Friday, March 11, 2011

Nuclear powered icebreaker

A nuclear powered icebreaker is a purpose-built ship for use in waters constantly covered with ice. Icebreakers are ships capable of cruising on ice-covered water by breaking through the ice with their strong, heavy, steel bows.

Nuclear powered icebreakers are faraway more powerful than their diesel powered counterparts, and have been constructed by Russia primarily to aid shipping in the frozen Arctic waterways in the north of Siberia.

During the winter, the ice along the northern seaways varies in thickness from (1.2 to 2.0 meters). The ice in central parts of the Arctic Ocean is on average 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) thick. Nuclear-powered icebreakers can power through this ice at speeds up to 10 knots (19 km/h, 12 mph).

In ice-free waters the maximum speed of the nuclear-powered icebreakers is as much as 21 knots (35 km/h, 24 mph).