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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Russia’s nuclear-powered ice-breaker ship

The Soviet Ship That Cuts Through Ice Like a Nuclear-Powered Knife Through Butte, Wired.com, By Andrew Tarantola, Gizmodo.com  , July 8, 2011 ………who else would think to pack two nuclear reactors into a ship and set it loose in the Arctic breaking ice? The North Koreans? Psshhh, not likely…….”

…..Breaking with the Soviet tradition of intuitive, straightforward design, the reactors are used to power Rube Goldberg propulsion system. The reactors power boilers which generate high pressure steam to power 12 dynamos which in turn power electric motors attached to each of the three propeller screws. These motors provide each screw with roughly 25,000 horsepower or 55.3MW. With that much power, the Yamal punches through ice up to 2.3m thick at a speed of 3 knots. And though the Yamal’s maximum rated ice thickness is 5m, it has been recorded smashing individual ice ridges as thick as 9m…

….Despite its ability to break through 20 vertical feet of ice at a time, the Yamal is effectively trapped in the Arctic. Because the reactors use the area’s frigid water for cooling, the Yamal is physically incapable of traveling near (and definitely not past) the equator without overheating and melting down its fuel supply.  ….

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July 8, 2011 - Posted by | Russia, technology

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