Russia postponed the commissioning of the nuclear-powered icebreaker Arktika because of sanctions and loss of access to Ukrainian turbines

Last May, Russian President Vladimir Putin was forced to push back the deadline for the delivery of the main nuclear-powered icebreaker LK-60YA Arktika from 2017 to 2019, reported Kommersant newspaper.

Putin demanded to take personnel, organizational and managerial decisions because of the failure of the state contract. The Accounts Chamber, the Prosecutor General's Office and the Federal Security Service are expected to conduct a project audit.

The key problem of the Arktika was the turbines. They had to be tested at the Ukrainian Kharkiv turbine plant but after 2014, the stand had to be built at the Kirov-Energomash or KEM, part of OAO Kirovsky Plant. Kommersant’s government source says that there are no serious technical difficulties. The first turbine is being tested at the KEM stand while the second turbine will be tested by October.

In a related issue, United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) complained to Kommersant about personnel problems, a large time gap in the implementation of similar projects, loss of competencies, the alteration of the technical design, and documentation.

However, the Kommersant’s source, who is close to the Federal State Unitary Enterprise Atomflot, is convinced that the Arktika will remain unfinished by mid-2019.

The Russian government's publication Rossiyskaya Gazeta quoted the press secretary of the Russian president, Dmitry Peskov, who said it was a “normal phenomenon” for such large projects to experience a two-year shift in the terms of delivery. However, Peskov conceded that "too big a delay is dangerous."

The newspaper noted that in March 2017, Deputy Minister of Industry Trade of the Russian Federation Vasily Osmakov had already warned that the Arktika was scheduled to be delivered in the first half of 2019. Then he explained that this situation was connected with the influence of Western sanctions but he assured that "they managed to completely resolve the problem of import substitution."

  nuclear-powered ship, Sanctions

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