Nuclear Ninety North
Eclipse of the Midnight Sun
August 1st, 2008
|2008-07-24 12:21 UTC||Click images for enlargements.|
The 50 лет Победы (50 Let Pobedy) is the largest and most powerful icebreaker in service in the world today. With a displacement of 25,850 metric tonnes, length of 159.6 metres, and a beam of 30 metres, powered by twin nuclear reactors fuelled with highly enriched uranium, it has approximately 75,000 horsepower available through its three electrically-driven screws. The ship has a maximum speed of 21.4 knots in open water, and can break through ice as thick as three metres at a sustained speed of 3 knots.
|2008-07-31 16:50 UTC||76°19.12'N 55°23.32'E|
Here is a tour of the ship from bow to stern.
|2008-07-31 16:43 UTC||76°18.25'N 55°22.83'E|
|2008-07-31 16:44 UTC|
|2008-07-31 16:44 UTC||76°18.37'N 55°22.88'E|
|2008-07-31 16:45 UTC||76°18.50'N 55°22.94'E|
|2008-07-31 16:45 UTC||76°18.46'N 55°22.91'E|
|2008-07-31 16:12 UTC||76°14.64'N 55°20.35'E|
|2008-07-31 16:16 UTC||76°15.11'N 55°20.69'E|
|2008-07-31 16:16 UTC||76°15.15'N 55°20.70'E|
|2008-07-31 16:16 UTC||76°15.19'N 55°20.76'E|
|2008-07-31 16:17 UTC||76°15.30'N 55°20.78'E|
|2008-07-31 16:18 UTC||76°15.39'N 55°20.84'E|
|2008-07-31 16:18 UTC||76°15.42'N 55°20.87'E|
Beneath the crane are the covers for the two reactor vessels. For refuelling and servicing the reactors, these covers may be removed and the reactors accessed by a dockside crane.
|2008-07-31 16:19 UTC||76°15.44'N 55°20.89'E|
|2008-07-31 16:20 UTC||76°15.57'N 55°20.97'E|
|2008-07-31 16:20 UTC||76°15.60'N 55°21.00'E|
|2008-07-31 16:20 UTC||76°15.63'N 55°21.04'E|
|2008-07-31 16:20 UTC||76°15.64'N 55°21.05'E|
The ship carries four davit-launched extreme weather lifeboats, each with a capacity of 60 persons. These boats can accommodate all of the crew and passengers without resort to the inflatable liferafts also carried. These are the two boats on the starboard side of the ship.
|2008-07-31 16:21 UTC||76°15.76'N 55°21.09'E|
Access to the bridge is from the exterior of the bridge deck or internally. The bridge is open to passengers at all times except for departure, docking, and the critical maneuvers to arrive at the North Pole.
|2008-07-31 16:22 UTC||76°15.81'N 55°21.10'E|
|2008-07-31 16:23 UTC||76°15.92'N 55°21.18'E|
Here are the two port lifeboats. Note the port reactor cover at the left.
|2008-07-31 16:23 UTC||76°15.95'N 55°21.20'E|
|2008-07-31 16:24 UTC||76°15.99'N 55°21.25'E|
|2008-07-31 16:24 UTC||76°16.04'N 55°21.29'E|
Sunshine units—don't go there!
|2008-07-31 16:24 UTC||76°16.05'N 55°21.30'E|
|2008-07-31 16:24 UTC||76°16.08'N 55°21.31'E|
Behind the lifeboats are mountings for spare propeller blades. The ship carried three on this voyage: one station was empty. Behind the propeller blades are the white canisters containing the inflatable life rafts.
|2008-07-31 16:25 UTC||76°16.11'N 55°21.33'E|
The stern helicopter deck accommodates the Mil Mi-8 helicopter which is used in winter icebreaking missions to scout paths ahead of the ship and in summer tourist service for sightseeing flights and to ferry people to landing sites in Franz Josef Land.
|2008-07-31 16:25 UTC||76°16.15'N 55°21.37'E|
|2008-07-31 16:28 UTC||76°16.50'N 55°21.61'E|
Here are the two spare propeller blades on the starboard side.
|2008-07-31 16:28 UTC||76°16.53'N 55°21.64'E|
To change the propeller, you're going to need a big spanner! This one is about two metres tall and stowed near the spare blades.
|2008-07-31 16:29 UTC||76°16.63'N 55°21.70'E|
Here's a view of one of the lifeboats from the deck whence one boards the boats.
|2008-07-31 16:30 UTC||76°16.69'N 55°21.74'E|
The ship carries two motorised launches for emergency purposes (for example, to support divers performing repairs to the screws or rudder, or to rescue people stranded due to failure of the helicopter). Fortunately, we did not have recourse to these craft. You can see the spare propeller blades and an inflatable liferaft canister beyond the boat.
|2008-07-31 16:31 UTC||76°16.83'N 55°21.83'E|
The stern, below the helicopter deck, is crowded with a variety of equipment and has a number of narrow passageways.
|2008-07-31 16:31 UTC||76°16.84'N 55°21.84'E|
|2008-07-31 16:33 UTC||76°17.09'N 55°22.00'E|
|2008-07-31 16:33 UTC||76°17.05'N 55°21.98'E|
The stern of the icebreaker has a characteristic V-shaped indentation with padding. This allows another ship to be hauled into tandem and either be shepherded through the ice in winter or contribute its power to that of the icebreaker when faced with thick ice.
|2008-07-31 16:33 UTC||76°17.00'N 55°21.94'E|
A kittiwake found the stern a convenient place to hitch a ride.
|2008-07-27 17:25 UTC|
The ship's visitor log in the captain's conference room contains this May 2007 entry by then Russian President Vladimir Putin.
by John Walker
August 20th, 2008