Another reason why the US needs to build some serious new bigassed icebreakers


#21

As far as we can tell, the U.S. Navy has a very good track record operating nuclear powered ships. So it make sense that the Navy should be responsible for running our nuclear powered icebreakers. Yes, to acquire funding this would probably have to be disguised as “defense” or “homeland security,” or maintaining our Arctic sovereignity, or some such bullshit. Obviously, a nuclear powered ship needs enough defenses to keep it from being hijacked or blown up by terrorists.

It might be worth having some kind of “big” gun for them to fire across Paul Watson’s bow, just in case we have to start defending the poor downtrodden Japanese “whalers” from Watson up in the Arctic.

While I am very much in favor of very friendly cooperation with Canada, I don’t see a jointly owned or operated nuclear icebreaker as a politically viable possibility, at least not in Canada. First, we need to stop jerking Canada around and approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

I say let Canada build or buy its own icebreakers to facilitate the development of its own Arctic resources. The Canadians are richer than we are because they have a lot of oil and mineral wealth with only 1/10th of our population, and they don’t waste half their national budget on unnecessary “defense” expenditures.

Our icebreakers should be used primarily to facilitate development of our Arctic resources and to support the establishment of infrastructure, especially oil and gas. They should NOT be used to subsidize foreign flag shipping by keeping the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage open to give Chinese goods a faster route to Europe. If Europe wants to get goods faster, they can start buying them in America. If Vanuatu, Marshall Islands, and Liberian flag ships want to use the Northwest Passage, let them pay for their own icebreakers.

The best thing we can do to strengthen our own national defense is to build a stronger national economy. The best way to do that is to make North America completely energy independent. This would do more for our national defense than every gun that we could ever build. The US, Canada, and Mexico have enough oil and gas to easily make North America energy independent.


#22

It makes sense for Russia to operate nuclear-powered icebreakers in the Northern Sea Route, but if the future American icebreakers are going to operate mainly around Alaska, I think a conventional diesel-electric power plant is a better overall solution. It’s considerably cheaper to build and operate, and plans for such icebreakers are already there - just take the Diefenbreaker and add an engine or two just to be a bit better than the Canadians, and you’ll have an icebreaker that can easily sail to the North Pole to have a face-off with 50 Let Pobedy…


#23

[QUOTE=Tups;126581]It makes sense for Russia to operate nuclear-powered icebreakers in the Northern Sea Route, but if the future American icebreakers are going to operate mainly around Alaska, I think a conventional diesel-electric power plant is a better overall solution. It’s considerably cheaper to build and operate, and plans for such icebreakers are already there - just take the Diefenbreaker and add an engine or two just to be a bit better than the Canadians, and you’ll have an icebreaker that can easily sail to the North Pole to have a face-off with 50 Let Pobedy…[/QUOTE]

NYET! You must have at least two new nuke icebreakers in order to have the horsepower needed to break the same ice as the bloody godless Putinites…

there is the new cold war in the Arctic and I’ll be damned if we’ll have an icebreaker gap!


#24

The soviets had a lot of problems with their nuclear powered icebreakers. I think the Lenin was so hot (radioactive) after a accident they had to let it sit for several years before eventually scrapping it.


#25

[QUOTE=c.captain;126587]

[B][I]I’ll be damned if we’ll have an icebreaker gap![/I][/B][/QUOTE]


[B][I]What’s an icebreaker?[/I][/B]

Seriously, let Buck Turgidson and Santa deal with the Pinkos, we got bigger problems: A squid dressed like a snowcone salesman is flapping its jaw at the old man.

It’s time to circle the wagons boys. ALL HANDS ON DECK


#26

“A cold war in the arctic”? Nothing slips past you.


#27

[QUOTE=salt’n steel;126592]The soviets had a lot of problems with their nuclear powered icebreakers. I think the Lenin was so hot (radioactive) after a accident they had to let it sit for several years before eventually scrapping it.[/QUOTE]

None of the Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers have been scrapped. Lenin is a museum ship in Murmansk. Sibir was decommissioned due to technical problems in 1992 and Arktika had its reactor removed in 2008, but they are still afloat and moored at Atomflot.

I saw the oldest Arktika-class icebreaker in service, Rossiya, last year and it seemed pretty solid (and very, very quiet). The two Taymyr-class icebreakers are also working full-time.

Still, building and operating a nuclear-powered icebreaker is not child’s play even if you have experience from other types of nuclear-powered ships. Thus, I would go for diesel engines - you can easily get to the same power level with only four generating sets.


#28

[QUOTE=Tups;126630]Still, building and operating a nuclear-powered icebreaker is not child’s play even if you have experience from other types of nuclear-powered ships. Thus, I would go for diesel engines - you can easily get to the same power level with only four generating sets.[/QUOTE]

what medium speed diesels make a continuous 30MW? You need at least a full 120MW capability to be a serious A5 class icebreaker. Who makes electric propulsion motors that powerful?


#29

Do we want to admit that US does not have the ability to build and operate nuclear powered ice breakers?

Do we want to admit that only the Russians are capable of building and operating nuclear powered ice breakers?

Do we want to read about the USCG getting stuck in the ice and running out of fuel unable to do the job then having to be rescued by the Russians?

If we are going to build ice breakers they should be the biggest and the best. Leave it others to admit that they lack the ability to build ice breakers like the Americans.

If we cannot build the biggest and best nuclear powered ice breakers then we shouldn’t build any


#30

what the man says!

AUTHOR!


#31

[QUOTE=c.captain;126639]what medium speed diesels make a continuous 30MW? You need at least a full 120MW capability to be a serious A5 class icebreaker. Who makes electric propulsion motors that powerful?[/QUOTE]

Wärtsilä was once offering a 18-cylinder version of its 64 series. The version intended for diesel-electric propulsion had a continuous output of 34,920 kW and would have been the most powerful medium-speed engine in the world. The 16-cylinder version was also producing more than 30 MW. However, with the exception of a single V12 prototype for testing purposes, only inline engines have been produced with that cylinder diameter and even they are few in numbers (last time I checked, there were seven). The most powerful medium-speed generating set they are offering today is 16V46F which produces 19,200 kW (18V50DF is bigger, but it has a lower output). Anyway, four of those is more than enough for a polar icebreaker IF you want to go with as few engines as possible. That’s not always the best solution.

Why do you need 120 MW? The Russians have proven time and again that you can easily get to the North Pole with just 52 MW despite having a relatively conservative hull form. The new icebreaker they are building now, LK-60, has just slightly more propulsion power than its predecessors (60 MW, as the name implies). If you put that power into a modern full form - say, the one the Canadians are using - and perhaps sacrifice some open-water performance to get even better icebreaking capability, you could probably run circles around the Russian icebreaker. Keep in mind that the Canadians are breaking 2.5-metre ice continuously with just 36 MW.

While the product range of e.g. ABB goes up to 60 MW, there’s a serious problem in putting that kind of power to the water. The Arctic seas are quite shallow and you need a lot of clearance between the propeller and the hull, so the diameter is limited. Also, you can’t put just any propeller in the end of the shaft - it has to be strengthened to withstand ice contact and capable of producing high thrust at low speeds. You can’t increase the shaft power indefinitely because at some point the propeller cannot absorb more power.

However, IF you want more power than a conventional triple-screw layout can handle, you can always go for four propellers. Now, THAT would be interesting. However, you’d need a wider ship, which would considerably increase the icebreaking resistance, and require more power…


#32

[QUOTE=Tups;126651]Why do you need 120 MW[/QUOTe]

Simply to be the biggest bad ass in town and to rub Putin’s Czarist nose in it. Time to take it all up a notch and no way to accomplish that better than to double the next guy’s output however I do see a big difference between reactor output capacity and propulsion in the ARKTIKA class ships.

[B]Reactors[/B]

Over the period December 1967 to May 1970, Lenin, precursor of the Arktika and the first ever nuclear-propelled icebreaker, had its three OK-150 reactors, capable of 90 MW each, replaced with two OK-900 reactors, capable of 159 MW each. The work was carried out at the Zvezdochka yard in Severodvinsk.

Arktika and the entire Arktika-class icebreaker fleet are outfitted with two OK-900A reactors, which deliver 171 MW each. Each reactor is contained in its own closed compartment and weighs 160 tonnes. They are shielded by water, steel, and high density concrete, and ambient radiation is monitored throughout the ship by 86 sensors. The reactors were originally fueled by a 90% enriched, zirconium-clad, uranium fuel. Those reactors still in operation today now use a 20%-90% enriched with 60% average enrichment uranium dispersed in an Aluminum matrix.The chain reaction can be stopped in 0.6 seconds by the full insertion of safety rods.

Arktika consumes up to 200 grams of fuel a day when breaking ice. There are 500 kg of Uranium isotopes in each reactor, allowing for up to four years between changing reactor cores. The used cores are extracted and replaced in Murmansk, the spent fuel reprocessed and waste disposed of at a radioactive waste plant.
[B]
Propulsion[/B]

Both the OK-150 and OK-900(A) are pressurized water reactors, meaning that cooling water is continually pumped under pressure through the reactor to remove heat, keeping the cores and the reactor cool. The heated water is pumped from the reactor to a boiler (4 boilers per reactor), where it transfers its heat into another body of water, producing steam at a rate of 30 kg/cm3 (approx 1,084 psi)[clarification needed] . Each set of four boilers drives two steam turbines, which turn three dynamos. One kilovolt of direct current is then delivered to three double-wound motors directly connected to the propeller, providing an average screw velocity of 120-180 rpm. Five auxiliary steam turbines are tied into the plant to provide electricity, turning dynamos which develop 30 MW.

Three fixed-pitch propellers provide Arktika with its thrust, power, and maneuverability. The starboard and centerline propellers turn clockwise while the port turns counter clockwise to compensate. Each propeller sits at the end of a 20 meter (65.6 ft) shaft and has four blades, which weigh seven tons and are attached by nine bolts to the hub which is 5.7 meters (18.7 ft) in diameter and weighs 50 tonnes. Arktika also carries four spare blades along with the appropriate diving equipment and tools so that propeller repairs may be made at sea; the operation can take anywhere from 1–4 days depending on the extent of the damage.

The propellers can deliver a combined bollard pull of 480 tons with 18-43 MW (25,000 shaft horsepower) [totals: 55.3 MW (75,000 shp)]. This amounts to a maximum speed of 22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph) on open water, full speed[clarification needed] of 19 knots (35 km/h; 22 mph), and an average speed of 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph) while icebreaking 2–3 metres (7–10 ft) thick level ice.

Why is this perfesser?


#33

The thermal efficiency of modern nuclear reactors - the ratio between the gross electrical power produced by the turbogenerators and the thermal output of the reactor - is about 35%. Due to some additional losses and plant usage, the net efficiency is even worse. Considering that the reactor design of the Arktika-class icebreakers dates back to the 70s and the electrical system is from the same era, I wouldn’t be suprised if they need 342 MW of thermal power to produce enough electricity for those three 17.6 MW DC motors running at full power and whatever the other systems consume. Throw in a reactor from this millenium and a modern AC/AC power system, and you could probably do with just one slightly bigger reactor.

For the record, the two A4W reactors in USS Nimitz are rated at 550 MWth [B]each[/B] and the ship has a propulsion power of 194 MW. Of course, those four propellers are coupled directly to turbines (better efficiency), the operational profile is totally different and the aircraft carrier has 20-40 times more crew, all recharging their iThings at the same time…


#34

Most fascinating Scotty!

but what of the need for more Dilithium Crystals? Apparently, earthlings package them in tin cans for easy transport…


#35

I recently had a conversation with Dr. Jack Devanney/, author of The Tankship Tromedy which is the best non-fiction book I’ve read all year (and I read a lot!).

I was trying to talk Jack into writing for gCaptain but he said, despite a long career spent dedicated to ships, he has found an even more backwards industry (in terms of safety, accident prevention and implementing new technologies) that is in much more desperate need of his expertise… Nuclear Energy. The little he told me about the NRC was truly eye-opening and, frankly, rather scary.

I hate to say it but the US Navy is the only entity in the world (that I am aware of) that does nuclear right. At one point (When the state academies had nuclear engineering programs) we had the capability to pull off a nuclear ship(and we did, the NS Savannah) but, today, it’s navy or nothing!


#36

With the cost of building, maintaining, decommissioning and storing the waste how is it possible to defend the cost of a nuclear icebreaker? I can understand the Russian’s who is 30 years behind the West in technology. But with today’s diesel-electric propulsion systems, what is the advantage in a nuclear powered ship?


#37

[QUOTE=john;126674]… today, it’s navy or nothing![/QUOTE]

Too bad about that. If the Navy operates icebreakers they won’t be manned by the best and brightest as there is little glory in breaking ice where no one can see you.

If you think about how badly the best and brightest are screwing up these days, just imagine the caliber of those who get sent to the Arctic.


#38

[QUOTE=Kraken;126675]I can understand the Russian’s who is 30 years behind the West in technology.[/QUOTE]

Keep in mind that with the exception of the Arktika-class nuclear icebreakers and some recent diesel-electric icebreakers, all Soviet and later Russian icebreakers have been built in Finland using largely western technology. While the Taymyr-class shallow-draft nuclear icebreakers had Soviet reactors, the AC/AC propulsion system and the ship itself was not of Soviet design. Also, propulsion systems in new Russian-built icebreakers (e.g. Viktor Chernomyrdin) come from Finland. In terms of technology, there’s only one American icebreaker that is roughly at the same level, and that’s only because it has the same type of propulsion system…

It makes sense for Russia to operate a fleet of nuclear-powered icebreakers because of the lack of infrastructure and bases along the Northern Sea Route which is considerably longer than the American Arctic coastline. However, without knowing the actual operational expenses of the nuclear-powered icebreakers, it’s difficult to compare them to diesel-powered ones and say which one would be better in the long run. I guess the Russians know it because they are building a new one now.

However, the Russian icebreakers are used for a completely different purpose than the proposed American icebreaker(s) which would be operated by the Coast Guard (or the Navy, as proposed in this thread). The former are line icebreakers, escorting merchant ships back and forth along the Northern Sea Route. The latter… Well, I’m not really sure what the US Coast Guard icebreakers do, apart from breaking the ice to McMurdo base once a year. Since the American taxpayers are against escorting merchang ships, I guess they just go around aimlessly…


#39

[QUOTE=Tups;126677] Well, I’m not really sure what the US Coast Guard icebreakers do, apart from breaking the ice to McMurdo base once a year. Since the American taxpayers are against escorting merchang ships, I guess they just go around aimlessly…[/QUOTE]

If they just went around, aimlessly or not, it would be a big improvement.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2016456549_icebreaker10m.html

As far as escorting merchant ships, aside from the Lakes, we don’t have any ports that require it and we don’t have any ships to escort. If there was money to be made escorting FoC ships into some northern Alaskan mudhole a clever entrepreneur would have one on the drawing board already. Canada can probably build a good icebreaker of their own, or go broke trying to rebuild one of our castoffs sitting in Seattle.

We are broke, we don’t have a viable merchant fleet and even the current crop of politicos know better than to spend a few billion to try and learn how to make an icebreaker that will keep Canada’s sea lanes open for Chinese ships.


#40

[QUOTE=Steamer;126679]As far as escorting merchant ships, aside from the Lakes, we don’t have any ports that require it and we don’t have any ships to escort.[/QUOTE]

That’s something I often forget. Even in the Great Lakes, the escort operations are quite different from what for example the Russians do - none of the US or Canadian icebreakers are fitted for notch towing.

As for the article you linked, I’m always surprised about the estimated price tag of the new USCG polar icebreakers. How can they be so expensive? Still, they are cheaper than many of the warships the US is building at the moment in relatively large numbers…