Monday October 14, 2019
Home Lead Story Russia Launch...

Russia Launches Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker Amid Warmer Climate Cycles

It's one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world.

0
//
ice breaker
The nuclear-powered icebreaker Ural is pictured during the float-out ceremony at the Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia, May 25, 2019. VOA

Russia launched a nuclear-powered icebreaker on Saturday, part of an ambitious program to renew and expand its fleet of the vessels in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential.

The ship, dubbed the Ural, was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg. It’s one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world. Russia is building new infrastructure and overhauling its ports as, amid warmer climate cycles, it readies for more traffic via what it calls the Northern Sea Route (NSR), which it envisages being navigable year-round.

The Ural is due to be handed over to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the two other icebreakers in the same series, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), enter service. “The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Alexey Likhachev, Rosatom’s chief executive, was quoted saying.

ice breaker
The ship, dubbed the Ural, was floated out from a dockyard in St Petersburg. It’s one of a trio that when completed will be the largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world. Wikimedia Commons

President Vladimir Putin said in April that Russia was stepping up construction of icebreakers with the aim of significantly boosting freight traffic along its Arctic coast.

Vying for dominance

The drive is part of a push to strengthen Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States and Norway, as well as newcomer China.

ALSO READ: India Ends all Imports of Iranian Oil, Says Washington Ambassador

By 2035, Putin said Russia’s Arctic fleet would operate at least 13 heavy-duty icebreakers, nine of which would be powered by nuclear reactors. The Arctic holds oil and gas reserves equivalent to 412 billion barrels of oil, about 22 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates.

Moscow hopes the route that runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska could take off as it cuts sea transport times from Asia to Europe. Designed to be crewed by 75 people, the Ural will be able to slice through ice up to around 3 meters thick. (VOA)

Next Story

Russia Accuses Facebook, Google of Election Interference

“This can be considered foreign meddling into Russia’s state sovereignty and interference with the country’s democratic process,” the watchdog said in a statement

0
Corporate, America, Climate Change
FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. The Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy announced in May that Facebook is building a… VOA

Many materials published on Facebook and Google resources can be considered interference in Russia’s internal affairs, said an official of the Russian Central Election Commission.

On Sunday, municipal and regional elections were held across Russia, with a total of 22 administrative centres electing city parliaments, and three regional capitals electing heads of municipalities, Sputnik news agency reported.

“Much of what is published there can be attributed to those materials that directly affect a person who is making a choice,” said Nikolai Bulayev, Deputy Chairman of the Russian Central Election Commission.

“If there is an influence, I’m sure that this can be considered as interference in internal affairs,” Bulayev told reporters.

google
FILE – A woman walks past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2018. VOA

On the day of the elections, Russia’s communication watchdog, Roskomnadzor, said that it had determined that several US Internet giants — Google, Facebook and Youtube — had featured politically charged advertisements on their platforms, which constituted foreign meddling in Russia’s electoral procedures.

“After monitoring various media platforms on the day of the elections, it has been determined that Google’s search engine, the Facebook social media platform and Youtube’s video hosting service featured political advertisements.

Also Read: South Korean Tech Giant Samsung Launches Solutions for Deaf-blind, Visually Impaired

“This can be considered foreign meddling into Russia’s state sovereignty and interference with the country’s democratic process,” the watchdog said in a statement.

The Russian parliamentary upper house’s Commission on Protecting State Sovereignty will look into possible foreign meddling in the country’s local elections in the second half of September, the commission’s chairman Andrei Klimov said on Sunday. (IANS)