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Russia Launches World's 'Biggest, Most Powerful' Nuclear Icebreaker

The Baltic Shipyard in St. Petersburg has floated out a new nuclear-powered icebreaker, said to be the world's biggest and most powerful.

Arktika, ordered by Russia's state nuclear company Rosatom, is expected to be ready to use by the end of next year.

"There are no icebreakers like it in the world," said Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko at the June 16 ceremony, according to a company statement. "The Arktika icebreaker presents truly new opportunities for our country."

Arktika is the first vessel in a project aimed at allowing year-round navigation in the Northeast Passage -- a sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, traversing the Arctic following Russia's coasts.

Kiriyenko said contracts had already been signed for the Arktika to accompany shipments from the Yamal liquefied natural gas terminal in northwestern Siberia.

The Arktika is the "biggest and most powerful" nuclear icebreaker in the world, according to Rosatom.

Based on reporting by AFP, Interfax, and TASS