MOSCOW, October 26. /TASS/. Rosatom expects that the government will decide on construction of the Leader icebreaker with its power twice above the recent generation of nuclear-powered icebreakers in coming months, Chief Executive Officer of the Russian state-owned nuclear corporation Alexei Likhachev told reporters on Thursday.
"We await decisions of the government on the Leader icebreaker shortly. They will be related to the integrated approach of the government towards the Arctic region and with development of Arctic fields," Likhachev said.
Eastward freight traffic of the Northern Sea Route will grow to 40-65 mln tonnes per year in near future, the top manager said. Year-round navigation should be provided over the Northern Sea Route to support transportation of such quantities.
"It can only be supported by the Leader nuclear-powered icebreaker with new speed and performance characteristics. Construction of the Leader should be viewed within the general economic context of the Russian Arctic development project," Likhachev said.
The icebreaker can be built on BOO [Build-Own-Operate] terms in alliance with major operators of Arctic fields, the top manager said. "The whole project economics can be developed in such way," he added.
The new icebreaker with 120 MW power is discussed as a project feasible for implementation. Leader would become the only icebreaker in the world for year-round escorting of vessels along the Northern Sea Route against ice thickness over 4 m.