PBS: Arctic Opening is Challenge to US

December 13, 2020

If the US is serious about being engaged in the Arctic, which is opening up, for better or worse, we could start by upgrading our fleet of icebreakers. It’s currently 2, to Russia’s 40.

Good informative effort here, with a geo-political take.

5 Responses to “PBS: Arctic Opening is Challenge to US”

  1. John Kane Says:

    Interesting, apparently the USA/NATO has noticed there is an Arctic Ocean!

    PBS sounded surprised there is a Northern Sea Route. It, in one way or another, has been of importance to the USSR and now the Russian Federation for many decades. Long enough that there is lore about how long shipboard romances will last on the nuclear icebreakers anyway.

    BTW, does the USA really have two icebreakers? I was under the impression that there was one that functioned and one being cannibalized to keep the first one running.

    In the mean time the Rosatomflot nuclear ice-breaker 50 Years of Victory, the black-hulled ship with the red superstructure in the film, is occasionally doing tourist runs to the North Pole.

    Here is what I think is the most recent Russian nuclear powered icebreaker on its maiden voyage, leaving St. Petersburg for its home port of Murmansk. https://www.navalnews.com/naval-news/2020/09/arktika-nuclear-powered-icebreaker-completes-sea-trials/

    Larger ones are, IIRC, already on order or even under construction.

    Russia and before that the USSR has had a very significant presence in the Arctic since at least the late 1940’s and the first their first nuclear icebreaker, the Lenin, entered service in 1959.

    Heck, the Russians even have a barge-mounted nuclear generating station, the Akademik Lomonosov in the Arctic.

    We in the West are so far behind it is amazing we can see their dust.

  2. redskylite Says:

    The LNG industry has certainly noticed that the Arctic is opening up and the fossil-fuel industry exploitation accelerates, as the sea ice diminishes. Soon the ice breaker will be largely an Antarctic vessel.


    “The LNG industry’s success in the Arctic is a concern for scientists and environmental groups, who see a “feedback loop” with more ships speeding up the pace of warming in the region. The ice’s white surface reflects sunlight and helps cool the atmosphere. When it melts, it is replaced by ocean water, which is dark and absorbs solar radiation.”


  3. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    Icebreakers don’t have to be as tough in the Arctic as they used to be, do they?

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