Russia Launches Powerful Nuclear Icebreaker to Tap Arctic’s Commercial Potential

Russia launched one of a trio of nuclear icebreakers from a shipyard in St. Petersburg on Saturday. The Ural is the first of three powerful ships that will become the largest and most powerful icebreaker fleet in the world, according to Reuters. The ships are part of an initiative to commercially develop the Arctic by making navigation via the Northern Sea Route or NSR viable year-round. The Ural will be officially handed to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom when the other icebreakers, Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia), are launched within two years. “The Ural together with its sisters are central to our strategic project of opening the NSR to all-year activity,” Alexey Likhachev, head of Rosatom, said at the launch.