nuclear powered icebreaker


The three remaining Arktika-class nuclear-powered icebreakers in service:

NS Sovetskiy Soyuz - Советский Союз

NS Yamal - Яма́л (showing her distinctive “shark mouth” bow design)

NS 50 Let Pobedy - 50 лет Победы

The status of the other three ships is as follows: NS Rossiya (Россия), the third unit produced, has been reported out of service since 2013; NS Arktika (Арктика) was finally retired in 2008 after 33 years in service; and NS Sibir (Сибирь) was out of service since 1992 after problems with her steam generation system. 




All three still await disposal, and all three still carry their reactors.


The Soviet nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin (Russian: Ленин).

Both the world’s first nuclear-powered surface vessel, and the first nuclear-powered civilian vessel. She sailed over 85,000 miles in her 30 years-long career, from 1959 to 1989, out of them, almost 65,000 miles sailing trough frozen seas. 

Curiously, due to her reactor design, she was incapable of sailing through warm waters, as doing so would create a risk of a meltdown.

At the end of the career, she became one final world’s first, after being successfully turned into a museum ship, the first and so far only time a nuclear-powered vessel has done so. 

Earlier in her career she suffered two reaction accidents, both due to loss of coolant, and after the second one her original three-reactor propulsion system was changed to a more reliable two-reactor one, lasting until her retirement, when it was removed and disposed of. 

Total original displacement: 16,000 tonnes (reduced as time went on due to her hull being slowly worn out by the ice).


If you have 5 minutes to spare, this is a video I made documenting a trip to the Geographic North Pole on board Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Years of Victory.