This week’s video is a five-minute-plus “tour de force” on the actual steps of fabrication required to manufacture the integral reactors used in the latest Russian nuclear powered icebreakers. The impressive shop operations required to fabricate such a system are usually not seen widely, but in this case, Atomenergomash shows the entire process in both computer graphics and in actual film shot during fabrication. Atomenergomash is the design division of Russian nuclear state enterprise Rosatom; one of the subsidiaries of Atomenergomash is the storied “Joint Stock Company Afrikantov,” which is the section responsible for design and fabrication of sea-going nuclear power plants.
The nuclear powered icebreakers operated by Russia have their start as far back as the 1950’s, when it was decided that in order to keep Northern ports open year-round, nuclear energy would be employed for icebreaking operations on the important shipping routes. The very first nuclear powered non-military ship in the world to operate, the nuclear icebreaker Lenin, was launched in September, 1959. Although the United States’ nuclear ship NS Savannah was launched two months prior, the Lenin would beat the Savannah into actual operational service.
“Report from the Arctic” – a Russian press release of sorts, this small book contains the stories of ten journalists who voyaged aboard the nuclear icebreaker Lenin in 1964. Copy in Will Davis’ library.
Lenin employed three 90 MWt pressurized water reactors (mounted abreast in a single reactor compartment space) which supplied steam to turbine generators located both fore and aft of the reactor compartment. The ship employed what is known as turbo-electric drive; the propellers were driven by large electric motors, which allowed them to be quickly and easily reversed. The ship had four large electric drive motors but only three propeller shafts; the center shaft mounted two of the 11,000 HP motors, while