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The Yamal - a Nuclear Powered Icebreaker
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The Yamal is a nuclear powered ice breaker planned and started under construction in Soviet Era Russia. She is the youngest of five Arktika class ships built from the mid 1970's. Her keel was laid in 1986 in St. Petersburg, by the time she was launched in October 1992 communism had collapsed in Russia.
Like many other Russian icebreakers, the Yamal is now chartered out on other operations, particularly for tourists to earn much need foreign currency. The original purpose of being used to keep northern navigational routes open during the winter, is now less important.
For their size, the Arktika class ships are amongst the most powerful and sophisticated ever built.
The name "Yamal" means "End of the Earth" it is also applied to the Yamal Peninsula for the same reason.
Built entirely for service in the Arctic seas, the Yamal is unable to voyage to the Antarctic because of her cooling system. This requires that it be supplied with cold sea water to operate properly, if the ship were to voyage to Antarctica it would have to cross the equator and sail through the tropics where the water is most definitely warm. Hence the Yamal and her sister ships are confined to the Northern polar region.
The Yamal is one of the few ice breakers that have sailed to the North Pole having done so for a millennial cruise arriving in time for the 1st of January 2000 with a compliment of paying passengers.
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