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Russia aims to dominate the Arctic, with nuclear ice-breakers

Moscow eyes ‘mastering’ Arctic waters with nuclear icebreaker fleet, Daily Sabah, BY FRENCH PRESS AGENCY – AFP, 8 Sept 21,

s ice cover in the Arctic recedes with climate change, Russia is hard at work to secure supremacy in the warming region with a fleet of giant nuclear-powered icebreakers.

Moscow sees the development of the Arctic as a historic mission and already has huge projects to exploit its natural resources.

Its next big plan is for year-round use of the Northern Sea Route (NSR), a shipping lane through Arctic waters Russia hopes could rival the Suez Canal.

Here are some key facts about Russia’s plans for the Arctic:

Historic ambitions

As an icebreaker called the “50 Years of Victory” left the port of Murmansk for the North Pole this summer, its captain told an Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalist on board that Russia has a special role to play in the Arctic.

“A third of our territory lies above the Arctic Circle. Our ancestors have long mastered frozen waters. We are continuing this successfully,” Dmitry Lobusov said.

President Vladimir Putin has made the development of the Arctic a strategic priority and state companies such as Gazprom Neft, Norilsk Nickel and Rosneft already have major projects in the Arctic to extract oil, gas and minerals.

“The Arctic region has enormous potential,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said earlier this month.

“In terms of resources, we’re talking about 15 billion tons of oil and 100 trillion cubic meters of gas. Enough for tens if not hundreds of years,” he said.

Suez alternative

The NSR links the Pacific to the Atlantic through Russian Arctic waters.

It is not currently navigable year-round without the help of icebreakers, though in summer some specialized classes of ships can pass through.

With the ice cover receding, Moscow is aiming for year-round navigation by 2030…………..

Growing fleet

Rosatom, which already has a fleet of five icebreakers and a container ship, is building four more nuclear-powered vessels within the next five years.,,,,,,,,,,,

Environmental worries

Environmental groups have slammed the race for hydrocarbons and the increased presence of nuclear reactors in the Arctic – an already fragile ecosystem dramatically affected by climate change.

Greenpeace has said that “the incident-ridden history of Russian nuclear icebreakers and submarines” should cause alarm.,,,,

September 9, 2021 - Posted by | oceans, Russia, technology

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