Scott Wasserman // March 2, 2017

Nuclear icebreakers – what’s so special about them? - Poseidon Expeditions

This story really happened more than 30 years ago.

In the Russian High Arctic, a convoy of over 50 Soviet-era ships became trapped in ice fields along the Northern Sea Route or "Northeast Passage." In those days, many Russian Arctic settlements were dependant on food and other neccessities that were typically delivered by these traditional convoys. This time, however, the convoy was unable to return after supplying the isolated settlements due to impassable ice.

As the situation became dire, it was agreed that a nuclear-powered icebreaker, the Lenin, would be pressed into service to lead the other ships out of their icy jail.    

What makes this story special – and the Lenin the hero – was her power source: nuclear energy. It enabled the Lenin and her crew to prevent hundreds of seamen from being trapped in the ice for a prolonged period of time. It was one of the biggest and most successful rescue missions of its day.

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