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Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corp., or Rosatom, announced this week the completion of a second RITM-200 reactor for the nuclear-run icebreaker vessel Chukotka, as well as the completion of the second vessel. “This is the last reactor that the company is manufacturing under the valid contract for the supply of power units for the new generation nuclear-powered ships”, Rosatom said in a press release.

Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev said in a statement, “RITM-200 reactors have proven themselves on board our new universal nuclear icebreakers, which has made navigation on the Northern Sea Route more efficient”.“Similar reactors will also be installed on board the fifth and sixth serial universal nuclear icebreakers to be built in accordance with the decision already made by the Government of the Russian Federation”, Likhachev added “In future, these reactors will be the ‘heart’ of floating nuclear power plants, which will supply energy to the Baimsk ore zone in Chukotka, as well as of the land-based nuclear power plant in Yakutia”.

The Northern Sea route also provides a faster Asian market link for Russian fossil fuels. On September 15, Gazprom PJSC announced it had achieved its maiden delivery of liquefied natural gas (LNG) using the Arctic route.The cargo was meant for China, which has emerged as a key market for Russian fossil fuels amid sanctions over the war in Ukraine.

"Today, a shipment of liquefied natural gas produced by Gazprom at the Complex near the Portovaya CS [compressor station] was completely unloaded from the Velikiy Novgorod LNG tanker at the Tangshan LNG import terminal in China", Gazprom said in a news release at the time, not disclosing the volume or the value of the transaction. "This is the first time LNG produced by Gazprom was delivered via the Northern Sea Route. The use of this route significantly reduces the time required for LNG shipments to be delivered to the Asia-Pacific region".

The Arctic link between Europe and Asia allows for faster shipping compared to the traditional routes through the Suez Canal in Egypt or the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. State-owned Gazprom's private competitor Novatek PJSC has already been using the Arctic Ocean to deliver gas to China. Novatek completed its first gas delivery to China via the route September 2010.

The cargo for state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. took 22 days from the Russian port city of Murmansk near the border with Finland to its destination, the port of Ningbo, a city on the eastern coast of mainland China. The voyage was about half the time it would have taken through the Suez Canal, Novatek said in a news release. While Novatek said at the time it needed icebreaking support for its Aframax LNG tanker to make the delivery, its joint venture Yamal LNG JSC has tapped a new class of LNG carriers that double as icebreakers.

"Special ARC 7 ice class carriers (by Russian classification standards) have been custom-designed and are being built for the Yamal LNG Project to support year-round navigation without any icebreaker assistance along westbound navigation routes, and during summer navigation season - eastbound via the Northern Sea Route", Yamal LNG says on its website.

TotalEnergies SE, which has a 20 percent stake in the Yamal LNG project primarily held by Novatek at 50.1 percent, says on its website LNG shipping through the route takes 15 days via the Bering Strait, half of what it would take through the Suez Canal.

Source : Rigzone