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Russia Builds World's Largest Nuclear Powered Ice-Breaker

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the i-thought-the-nuclear-wessels-were-in-alameda dept.

Transportation 153

Hugh Pickens writes "Eve Conant reports that Russia's dream to dominate the Arctic will soon get a boost with a $1.1 billion nuclear-powered icebreaker 170 meters long and 34 meters wide. It's designed to navigate both shallow rivers and the freezing depths of the Northern Sea. Powered by two 'RITM-200' compact pressurized water reactors generating 60MWe, the world's largest 'universal' nuclear icebreaker is designed to blast through ice more than 4 meters thick and tow tankers of up to 70,000 tons displacement through Arctic ice fields. Why the effort and cost? 'Climate change is a pivotal factor in accelerating Russia's interest in icebreakers,' says Charles Ebinger. 'With climate change we are seeing a major change in the Northern Sea Route, which is a transport route along Russia's northern coast from Europe to Asia. Just in the last few years, with less and less permanent sea ice, maritime traffic across the Russian Arctic has risen exponentially.' The expectation is that the melt will continue, but there are still sections of route that would require icebreakers to keep it open year round. Icebreakers are an excellent example of a special purpose vehicle that is very poorly designed for operation outside its specific envelope. The key element is the rounded bow, a shape best suited to riding up on ice shelves and crushing them from above, causing the ships to roll from side to side in the waves when sailing on open water, making for a very seasick ride for the crew. Russia is the only country in the world currently building nuclear icebreakers, and has a fleet of about half a dozen in operation, along with a larger fleet of less powerful, diesel-powered icebreakers. The U.S. has been relying on a Russian diesel icebreaker to deliver supplies to Antarctica due to our own shrinking fleet of the cold-water, diesel-fueled vessels."

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153 comments

Proof! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309609)

...that global warming is a conspiratorial lie!

Ok, kidding. I had to.

What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309615)

If all the ice is melting from global warming or natural warming?

Re:What's the point? (4, Informative)

neonKow (1239288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311341)

The point is that most of the time, the Arctic is still impassible without icebreakers, and oftentimes even with icebreakers. With global warming, more and more of the Arctic is traversable by ship for more and more of the year, and these massive icebreakers are going to give whoever owns them and a bunch of Arctic ports a leg up on shipping in the area.

Re:What's the point? (2)

Herve5 (879674) | about a year and a half ago | (#41312047)

Add to this these ship pathes are extremely economic (compared to a full continental tour), and you get a perfect race between Russia and Canada for who'll provide the best icebreakers, the best communication satellites, the best meteo, radars etc.
Such a move from the russians may trigger something else in Canada just for not being late (which indeed would be good...)

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41312177)

(*)

English has IMHO a big problem of too much emphasis on the beginning of words, hence easy confusions like this one -- impassible (passionless) versus impassable (cannot be passed through). Though dictionaries point both are variants of the same, obviously someone took the short route of changing dictionaries in the past rather than admitting a mistake. Quite regrettable IMHO (*).

More on-topic, actions do talk louder than words. For all the doubt and questioning of global warming, it's interesting to see "The U.S. has been relying on a Russian diesel icebreaker to deliver supplies to Antarctica due to our own shrinking fleet of the cold-water, diesel-fueled vessels" (sic). Hypocrisy cannot be shown clearer than this.

(*) All this post is my own opinion, unrelated to any other person or corporation.

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41311979)

What's the point?

Are you trying to imply "In Soviet Russia, ice breaks you!"

Ha, the joke's on them! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309627)

Soon there won't be any ice to break!

Re:Ha, the joke's on them! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309645)

Soon there won't be any ice to break!

It is called winter. Even if the sea is ice free in the summer, there will be ice in the winter.

Now if the Arctic sea is ice free year round, I think I'd be packing my bags for Mars.

Re:Ha, the joke's on them! (5, Interesting)

Sundo (1050980) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309743)

Whatever the cause for melting Arctic is, it's actually bound to cause more use for those icebreakers instead of freeing them up. Just like any other country with coastline to Arctic sea areas, Russia has plans to drill oil in the Arctic. They are also trying to start using the northern route for shipping around the continent.

Also as previous poster noted, there's always winter. And it's not necessarily getting any easier because of the global warming, because extreme weather conditions may become more common.

Re:Ha, the joke's on them! (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310523)

Shell are already drilling. I think this is part of a race to claim the reserves up there.

Re:Ha, the joke's on them! (4, Interesting)

jafiwam (310805) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310967)

Whatever the cause for melting Arctic is, it's actually bound to cause more use for those icebreakers instead of freeing them up. Just like any other country with coastline to Arctic sea areas, Russia has plans to drill oil in the Arctic. They are also trying to start using the northern route for shipping around the continent.

Also as previous poster noted, there's always winter. And it's not necessarily getting any easier because of the global warming, because extreme weather conditions may become more common.

The Russians are making a land-grab north of Canada. They'll be able to move troops and equipment to establish a stronghold without Canada being able to do anything about it besides call on their southern neighbors to start a war with Russia. Without significant and fast military build up, they are going to lose a significant portion of their energy future as Russia steals and squanders it.

Re:Ha, the joke's on them! (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311941)

The Russians are making a land-grab north of Canada.

What "land" is left to be grabbed or to park "troops and equipment" on? All land (at least beyond the postage stamp size) is currently claimed in a way recognized by international law and treaty.

I hope you're referring to the Arctic Ocean instead. But there, no one has a real claim to it right now. That will probably end up being whoever occupies and exploits it first. Hence, it is the real "land-grab". Since Canada like everyone else has no claim to the ocean nor a way to exploit it at this time, what's the pretext for war going to be?

Re:Ha, the joke's on them! (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310239)

Yes, by then Mars will have warmed up as well, removing the last remaining obstacle for it to sustain human life.

Re:Ha, the joke's on them! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310867)

Yes, by then Mars will have warmed up as well, removing the last remaining obstacle for it to sustain human life.

Apart from, y'know, the lack of oxygen and pressure. Other than those teensy little hiccups, we're good to go!

Re:Ha, the joke's on them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41312899)

Winter is coming!

War with Canada? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309673)

Russia has been flexing its muscle in Canada's direction quite a bit in recent history. Methinks they plan on staking a claim to our north sea route (north of Canada, not Russia).

Re:War with Canada? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41311813)

Even without US help Canda would kick Russia's ass.

A better way? (4, Interesting)

xenobyte (446878) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309713)

Pushing a heavy ship up on the ice to crush it and thus break it may be efficient, but is hardly the only way to break ice, and probably not the most efficient all things considered.

A nuclear-powered ship should have raw power and heat in abundance. I'm thinking that super-hot steam under extreme pressure would cause any thickness of ice to crack, and cracked ice is extremely brittle and easy to crack even more, so a combination of super-hot steam and raw ramming force would crack the ice just as efficiently without the need for the ship to go on top of the ice and crush it. Would make it possible to use a more seaworthy hull shape and thus improve the conditions for the crew.

Re:A better way? (5, Interesting)

adolf (21054) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309779)

You think so?

It's easy to see if you're right. Just get yourself some super-heated steam (a pressure cooker is a good start), an appropriately-sized chunk of saltwater ice (do you own a freezer?) and see if it is practical.

Myself, I'm thinking that it doesn't work the way that you think that it does.

But it's your idea so I'll let you either prove or disprove it yourself. Good luck!

Re:A better way? (4, Informative)

Solandri (704621) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311379)

I can think of few flaws with the superheated steam idea off the top of my head.

1) The ambient temperature is below freezing. Seawater has a freezing temperature of about -2 C. The ice is fresh water - freezing forces out most of the impurities like salt (which is why people have suggested towing icebergs to lower latitudes as sources of fresh water). Consequently, any ice which gets melted would simply re-freeze solid again when it contacted the surrounding ocean water. It'd be like trying to cut your way through a metal floor over a meter thick using a blowtorch. The metal you manage to melt would simply flow and resolidify as it reached the bottom. Any advantage of ice being brittle is lost when you're introducing liquid water which will flow into and seal any cracks you manage to make the moment the crack reaches the ocean underneath.

2) Steam is uncontained. It flows and spreads out when it encounters resistance, thus decreasing the force at any point. The beauty of moving your ship on top of an ice sheet is that the weight of the ship is borne by the singular point of ice which is highest. That's what causes it to fracture even though the sheet as a whole may be able to support the weight of the ship. A similar strategy is used for the pilings of offshore oil rigs in areas which get iced over. If you try to build them to just resist the ice, they will be crushed and fail. Instead, they're designed with a curvature which lifts the ice. A flat ice sheet resting on a curved surface means all the weight of the ice is borne by a single point, easily causing it to fracture and move around the piling.

3) Water has a fairly high heat capacity and heat of vaporization (it takes a lot of energy to heat it up and to convert it to steam). The Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers I find on Google are listed as 21,000 tons with a draft of 9 meters (the bottom of the ship extends 9 meters below the waterline). So raising the front half of it above 1.5 meters of ice requires mgh = (21,000/2 tons)(9.8 m/s^2)(10.5 meters) = 9.8x10^8 joules of energy. Water has a heat capacity of 4.2 J/g*K and a heat of vaporization of 2260 J/g. So taking freezing ocean water and heating it to steam requires 420+2260 = 2680 J/g. 9.8x10^8 joules will let you convert only 367 liters of water to steam. Less if you want to raise it above 100C, and less if you want to pressurize it above 1 atmosphere. And I suspect the icebreakers are designed with a shallower draft at the bow, to ease lifting it above the ice.

Re:A better way? (2)

tgd (2822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311461)

You think so?

It's easy to see if you're right. Just get yourself some super-heated steam (a pressure cooker is a good start), an appropriately-sized chunk of saltwater ice (do you own a freezer?) and see if it is practical.

Myself, I'm thinking that it doesn't work the way that you think that it does.

But it's your idea so I'll let you either prove or disprove it yourself. Good luck!

This is Slashdot, home of the armchair quarterback that thinks they've thought of something the experts missed.

Re:A better way? (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309799)

Breaking the ice is only a half of the problem. You also need to push the ice _away_ from your ship, and that's where the mass and shallow angles of ice breakers come handy. Quite a few ships in Arctic were _crushed_ by ice.

Russia is the only country in the world with a significant population on the Arctic-facing shores (Canada and Norway are distant runner ups), so it has a rather rich history of building icebreakers.

Re:A better way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309821)

Side note, it also has a rich history of poorly designed nuclear powered ships.

Re:A better way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41312493)

Any examples?

Re:A better way? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310219)

The US has a long history of ice breaking also.. just inland: The biggest ice breaker on the Great Lakes is 1ft wider than the first lock leading from the great lakes out towards the Atlantic, that way the ice breaker can't be stolen, and even if it is... it has to break the ice on the great lakes (i just find this kind of amusing planning)

Re:A better way? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309941)

A nuclear-powered ship should have raw power and heat in abundance. I'm thinking that super-hot steam under extreme pressure would cause any thickness of ice to crack

The crew doesn't care. People that work under those conditions are entirely acclimated to rolling seas.

Ice breakers are simple, stupid devices. Adding huge super heated pressurized ice blasters to something that must operate a billion miles from any sort of repair facility is just silly. Strong, redundant, protected engines combined with a ludicrously thick hull is optimal.

Sometimes the weather gets so bad the crew must retreat to quarters for days. When they emerge there is a meter or more of solid ice encasing everything. The mass of it increases the draft so much a ship can become unstable and the crew must remove it symmetrically to remain level.

There is no place for the sort of equipment necessary for controlling super-hot steam under extreme pressure on the deck or bow of an ice breaker. The ice would just mangle it beyond all fucking hope.

Re:A better way? (1)

dr2chase (653338) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311051)

I dunno, you're making a steam-heated upper deck sound like not such a bad thing -- melting the ice off by remote control would be pretty awesome, compared to whacking on it with an ax. No need for super-heat, just use it after it exits the turbines, or run a heat exchanger with some anti-freeze, so a failure in that system would leave the engine power intact (let's see, what still flows at -80F?). Getting badly iced is a common failure mode. I've seen pictures of boats after they were caught in North Atlantic storms, and I've taken a few whacks at ice dams on my roof (a sock full of calcium chloride works better). It's not like it's good for the ship or sailors to be out whacking on it with an ax in bad weather. An Arctic ship with a heated superstructure might represent a net reduction in risk of failure.

Re:A better way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41311703)

I got to go with Dr Chase on this one. They need to think about using the excess heat to warm the hull and super structure of the ship. Not the radioactive water itself, but some thing that carries the heat when it needs to.

Also, does't Boeing have a really big laser that they keep flying on a 747 to shoot down missiles? Mount one to the front and just laser a path in the ice.

Re:A better way? (2)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year and a half ago | (#41312409)

Not going to work.

What happens when you direct the steam on the ice? It melts, drips and freezes solid again in an instant. Not to mention the fact that your steam better be pretty damned hot to keep from condensing and freezing itself. (BTW, where do you think the now cooled moisture laden steam is going to go? That's right, it's going to freeze right onto the next thing downwind)

Take a look at the exhaust pipes for some industrial plants in winter. You will see superheated steam escaping from the pipes, and the rest of the pipe or structure is often covered in ice from the condensed steam. Hell, many times you have to send a worker up there to knock the ice off the steam exhaust to keep it from icing over completely!

Now, you are talking about relying on a complex and heavy heat exchanger system to melt ice... I can go into plenty of reasons why such a thing is worse than a bunch of sailors with axes, but I think that this will help illustrate.

Even if you don't believe me, look at all of the time/money/people who spend every winter shovelling snow and chipping ice from sidewalks and driveways. Consider that even on stationary, permanent structures that can be put together by little more than pouring concrete into a mold, we don't melt ice and snow to remove it.

10 guys with axes working for 2 hours a day @ $40/hr costs is less than $300k. (Obviously a high estimate since I don't think they will be doing this every single day) An Icebreaker is likely to remain in service for 30 years. So at $300k/year for 30 years, it is going to cost you only $9,000,000 to chip away the ice by hand.

I highly doubt that any system of heat exchange or directed steam could be designed for less than $9M, let alone be operated and supported for 30 years and cost less than $9M

Re:A better way? (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about a year and a half ago | (#41312715)

Not that I think it's a particularly good idea for a ship but they do heat driveways in some parts of the US to prevent icing. The setups I've seen usually use a geothermal system of some sort to keep the driveway above freezing temperatures. There has to be some drains installed to catch the runoff which is then piped below the frost line. Given that ground temperatures just a few feet down are typically in the 60's this shouldn't require any fancy heating system just a pump with a high enough flow rate to keep up with the weather trying to cool the cement slab.

Tested and works (4, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309975)

The English canals had icebreaker boats which worked exactly the same way, except that they were human powered. the crew moved around on the deck to get the bow onto the ice then moved forward to break it, then rocked from side to side to clear the passage. So this solution has probably been around for several hundred years of testing. I imagine that the experience and knowledge of everybody from the canal builders to PhD-level marine architects somewhat exceeds that of xenobyte.

Re:A better way? (2, Funny)

RuBLed (995686) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310155)

A nuclear-powered ship is only efficient at this small scale ice breaking. For a more permanent solution regarding the availability of the northern routes, I suggest that we burn more coal on a global scale.

Re:A better way? (1)

dargaud (518470) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310289)

You jest, but the solution to keeping the ice open is simple: just keep the traffic flowing. Right now there's hardly any traffic going all the way around Siberia. But if they build it, they will come, particularly if the temperatures are a little warmer and there's a team of powerful ice breaker ready for when currents push the ice to close again (which is how it happens, not simply by refreezing overnight).

Re:A better way? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310269)

...a better method would be trained laser sharks.

Re:A better way? (4, Funny)

c (8461) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310637)

> ...a better method would be trained laser sharks.

Laser seals. There's way, way more of them.

And it'd make the annual seal hunt a lot less one-sided.

Re:A better way? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310605)

Would make it possible to use a more seaworthy hull shape and thus improve the conditions for the crew.

the Russians have actually addressed the hull-shape issue with some of their new diesel ice breakers and ice-strengthened freighters
by building ships with an ice-breaker bow one end, a more normal bow on the other end, a bridge with a full set of controls front and back, and a hybrid propulsion system that can efficiently go in both directions.

so they sail along in "normal ship mode" most of the time, and when they hit thick ice they just turn the ship around and switch to "icebreaker mode"

Re:A better way? (1)

Snaller (147050) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310985)

"Pushing a heavy ship up on the ice to crush it and thus break it may be efficient, but is hardly the only way to break ice, and probably not the most efficient all things considered."

No no, the better way is the American way: Release a lot of crap into the stratosphere heating up the planet and getting rid of all the ice at once by melting it! ;-)

Re:A better way? (1)

DigiTechGuy (1747636) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311873)

Perhaps you mean the Chinese way? Their lax restrictions on air quality is part of why there is so much manufacturing there, as it's not economically feasible in other countries such as America.

Man, those Ruskies are dumb! (1)

exploder (196936) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311037)

Pushing a heavy ship up on the ice to crush it and thus break it may be efficient, but is hardly the only way to break ice, and probably not the most efficient all things considered.

A nuclear-powered ship should have raw power and heat in abundance. I'm thinking that super-hot steam under extreme pressure would cause any thickness of ice to crack, and cracked ice is extremely brittle and easy to crack even more, so a combination of super-hot steam and raw ramming force would crack the ice just as efficiently without the need for the ship to go on top of the ice and crush it. Would make it possible to use a more seaworthy hull shape and thus improve the conditions for the crew.

Man, those Ruskies are dumb! They spend a billion dollars building a giant icebreaking ship, and none of them made the connection that nuclear generators make heat, and heat melts ice. Hah!

PS: Love your sig.

Re:Man, those Ruskies are dumb! (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311353)

I'm assuming this is a joke, but i'm doing the math because I enjoy challenges.

Melting the arctic ice would be nearly impossible with an icebreaker.

If we do a quick thought experiment, let's say that the ice is 1 meter thick (probably SEVERE lowball). This means that a 1 meter thick path, 200 meters wide, would contain 200 cubic meters per 1 meter of path.

Now let's extrude that into the (i'm guestimating here) 4000+ miles of Russian arctic coast. That comes out to 6000km. So you're path 200 meters wide would be roughly 1500 square kilometers of ice. That's 1,500,000,000 cubic meters of ice. This equates to 1.5 trillion liters of ice. That's about 3 trillion pounds of ice.

1.5 trillion liters of ice, assuming normal atmospheric temperature and pressure, is about 1.4 million KG of ice. Water ice takes about 334kj per killogram of ice to melt from 0 centigrade to 1 centrigrade. If we assume that ice breaker that generates 60MW electric, assuming 33% efficiency that's 180MW thermal. Assuming all of the heat energy from the reactor was 100% efficently transfered to the ice, melting that road through the arctic waters would take a relativley short 88 years and about 3 months. ...Yeah, and it refreezes every year.

This isn't something you can do with heat, in any meaningful timeframe for a reasonable cost.

Re:A better way? (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311433)

Ramming is a bad idea. Even if you can crack the ice, you'd be pushing the cracked blocks against each other, forcing them together and giving them the chance to freeze together. They can't go anywhere, you're pushing against the entire ice shelf.

What you need is a force in the direction where the ice is thinnest and weakest, i.e. vertically, which is just what an ice breaker does. It forces the ice down, and pushes the loose blocks underneath the ice shelf so they won't fill up the channel.

I've tried cracking ice by applying heat to it: I regularly dunk ice cubes in hot tea. While the cubes will crack, the cracked cube stays together instead of separating into smaller pieces.

Re:A better way? (2)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311949)

They sort of already do, it is called air bubble system. Conventional icebreakers also use it.

Re:A better way? (1)

Bugler412 (2610815) | about a year and a half ago | (#41312885)

This may result in a more comfortable sea going ride, but the energy requirements and therefore cost will make it economically impractical. It is MUCH more energy efficient to just ride on top of the ice to break it. The main reason to use nuclear here is the potential for the ship to become ice locked and trapped but still be able to sustain itself to an extent for an extended period without bulk fuel supplies. The extra structural weight of nuclear ships also add to the ice breaking role. That plus less or zero bulk fuel oil is stored, so less chance of a spill should the ice not cooperate and cause minor hull breaks.

Northern Sea? (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309723)

Shouldn't it be the Arctic Sea?

For what it's worth - Russia is big and strong, and will be a power to count on the coming decades. As long as they keep to economic strength and avoid the military path it's no big problem.

Re:Northern Sea? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310163)

If Russia ever managed to fix its problems with corruption, it could expand to become a superpower that would rival the US and China combined.

If it doesn't fix its system, it will continue to miss out on investments in any industry that can choose to operate elsewhere (i.e. everything except mining, farming, and stuff tied to the local population).

Seriously, Russia could be the banking centre for a third of the world and be the most diverse manufacturing centre on the entire planet, if only people thought they could trust their investments there.

Re:Northern Sea? (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310439)

Seriously, Russia could be the banking centre for a third of the world and be the most diverse manufacturing centre on the entire planet, if only people thought they could trust their investments there.

Why on Earth do we need yet another banking centre? Why should Russia be a banking centre anyway?

Re:Northern Sea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310537)

The rest of the world doesn't need one, but for the country hosting it a banking centre brings in a hell of a lot of money. Russia should want to host banks because it would do a hell of a lot to expand their economy, mostly via siphoning off money from everybody else's activity.

Re:Northern Sea? (2)

daem0n1x (748565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310633)

And why would anyone want to send money to Russian banks?

Shouldn't we get over this "financial centre" bullshit once and for all? If Russia (or anyone else) wants capitals, create some productive activities and make them compete for financing in the global markets. Money to be invested producing real stuff, not the same old financial hocus pocus over and over again, taking imaginary money out of imaginary asses.

Re:Northern Sea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310851)

The global market for financing has to happen somewhere. Why should countries not try to attract a greater fraction of it so that the profits are spent within their borders?

Re:Northern Sea? (1)

daem0n1x (748565) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310901)

I guess you have a reading comprehension disability...

Re:Northern Sea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41311445)

You said yourself "make them compete for financing in the global markets" and " Money to be invested producing real stuff".

Where do you think finance and investment is going to come from on a global market if not from banks?

Rich patrons? Individual lenders? There's not enough money available from either. If you limit yourself to that kind of dealing, all your market opportunities are going to be eaten by competitors that could get hold of more cash to expand more rapidly. Banks are able to reinvest the contents of bank accounts, and that's a huge amount of potential capital.

In this hypothetical non-corrupt Russia, people would send money to russian banks because that's where their initial investments had come from and they have to repay the debt.

Re:Northern Sea? (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#41312173)

Why on Earth do we need yet another banking centre?

Yea, we only need one banking center, and I need to be the one owning it.

Re:Northern Sea? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310509)

last time I checked, there was no ice in the North Sea. It's too violent for the crystallisation of salt water.

I wonder if this could be anything to do with the fact that Shell are drilling the sea bed under the Arctic ice?

Making a lemonade (2, Insightful)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309969)

Now that is what I'm talking about. Instead of trying to prevent global warming(something I doubt is even possible, regardless if global warming is human made or a natural event), why not try to take advantage of it. Humans survived to this day not because we stopped things from happening, but because we adapted to live with or overcome them.

Good (-1, Flamebait)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year and a half ago | (#41309989)

When the harvests fail, you can be the test subject to see how well you can adapt to no food.

Now go and kill yourself Republican and make the world a better place.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310207)

When the harvests fail, you can be the test subject to see how well you can adapt to no food.

Right now they're predicting that huge amounts of land would become economical to farm on in Canada and Siberia and such, far more than what will be lost by rising sea levels. A few degrees can mean weeks more growing season in areas like North Dakota, allowing the the planting of more productive plants that need that time to mature.

Re:Good (1, Troll)

amorsen (7485) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310433)

I'm sure that Canada will be eager to welcome a hundred million immigrants from Bangladesh then. After all, Canada caused it to happen and benefited, whereas Bangladesh didn't cause it but did get harmed.

Not that you will understand what I am saying, if you were capable of reasoned discussion you would not link to such a ridiculous site in your signature.

Re:Good (1)

FishTankX (1539069) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311439)

This may be a dumb question, but isn't alot of the netherlands built on land that was flooded by rising sea levels? Is it impossible to just build a seawall where it's necessary?

Re:Good (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311959)

It 'depends'. In any case it'd be highly expensive, but so wouldn't doing the things necessary to stop Global Warming. As a matter of fact, I think it's an open question as to which would be cheaper/better.

That being said, I support less pollution in general. I don't like the way many countries have gone about reducing their pollution, those that actually have, but then, I don't agree with most politicians.

Netherlands (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41312039)

Oh, and on Netherlands - A lot of the country was built on land claimed from the ocean via the building seawalls.

Re:Good (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year and a half ago | (#41312015)

Not that you will understand what I am saying, if you were capable of reasoned discussion you would not link to such a ridiculous site in your signature.

Congratulations! It's been like 3 years since somebody last insulted my sig. It at least used to be great for detecting people incapable of reasoned discussion.

Of course, this line does a good job anyways:

I'm sure that Canada will be eager to welcome a hundred million immigrants from Bangladesh then. After all, Canada caused it to happen and benefited, whereas Bangladesh didn't cause it but did get harmed.

1. Lots of immigration into Canada right now
2. Even worst case wouldn't render 100m worth of India unoccupiable.
3. Yeah, India with it's 1.7B tons [wikipedia.org] of CO2 a year vs Canada's 544M is totally not responsible for any global warming.

Re:Good (2)

Whorhay (1319089) | about a year and a half ago | (#41312801)

That is correct, we could end up with a lot more arrable farmland in the long run. But in the short term I'd still expect food shrtages and famines. Just because there is more land that could be farmed doesn't mean it would be farmed right away. Clearing and otherwise preparing land for farming can be a pretty labor intensive and lengthy endeavor. And just because the soil is good and the land is flat and clear doesn't mean that you'll have enough precipitation, which would require large scale irrigation infrastructure in areas that don't currently have any.

I wouldn't say it's all doom and gloom but it's certainly not a bright and shiny future.

Re:Good (1, Interesting)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310497)

Climate change has nothing to do with crop failure.

Deep genetic modification, chemical additives, non-specific pesticides and herbicides (DDT and Agent Orange, anyone?) and terminal crops (Monsanto wheat, anyone? What's wrong with Canadian triticale?) are the reason for crop failures.
Political wranglings are the reason behind why half the World's population can't get enough food.

Idiots like you are the reason nothing constructive is being done about it.

now all they will need is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41309981)

some god damned Ice to be left to actually break with the stupid thing.

Time to close the icebreaker gap (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310023)

We've got to close the icebreaker gap!

Re:Time to close the icebreaker gap (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310157)


We've got to close the icebreaker gap!

I know you say this in jest, and it's fine that Russians have this market, but there's also the aspect that the US wouldn't allow industry to build such a vessel, in this period of societal decline.

As it is, our Coast Guard only has 3 breakers, all diesel, and one is really supposed to be a research vessel. We have to buy help from the Russians just to run our government programs.

And forget about private industry being 'allowed' to build a twin-nuclear-powered massive ice break. It would be tied up in red tape and lawsuits until the investors left.

There was a day when the US would have been outmaneuvering all the other industrial nations in advancing new technology like this. The air supply has been choked off in America but the brain hasn't quite gone hypoxic yet.

Re:Time to close the icebreaker gap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310229)

Affirmative action has destroyed the quality of our universities, and illegal immigration and antijingoism has destroyed our national pride.

Our industries are all outsourced to the lowest bidder, so, heck, why not outsource our strategic resources as well?

Odd allocation of blame above (3, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310521)

And forget about private industry being 'allowed' to build a twin-nuclear-powered massive ice break. It would be tied up in red tape and lawsuits until the investors left.

It may be nice to pretend that you don't need the support of a large organisation (eg. a Navy) to run large projects (eg. a huge nuclear powered icebreaker) that cost a lot of money for little or no financial return - however that act of pretending is known as fantasy. You fantasy is somewhat offensive in blaming governments for stopping the mythical creature of some libertarian building a nuclear icebreaker in his garage in Idaho. If it wasn't for that darned red tape and their dog he could do it! Scale that up to a fucking huge oil company and they've still got better ways to spend their money than building nuclear icebreakers. Private enterprise is just not going to do it - it's the sort of infrastructure that's applied at a national level (Russia) and borrowed on an international level.

Re:Odd allocation of blame above (2)

jacknifetoaswan (2618987) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311453)

I disagree. There's zero reason that a motivated private industry wouldn't contract with Electric Boat or Newport News to create a nuclear powered ice breaker that served them, and them only. Governmental breakers serve industry, in general. Once ANWAR and the oil fields north of there are finally opened and made economical, it would make sense for several of the oil companies operating in the area to operate their own ice breaker, that served all their rigs. You're not going to be able to get the USCG to dedicate a breaker to this activity, and while it might cost upwards of $2B, that's a drop in the bucket for a conglomerate of oil companies... ...if it weren't for the red tape of actually getting the oil fields opened up for development, and for getting the thing built.

Re:Time to close the icebreaker gap (2)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311793)

There was a day when the US would have been outmaneuvering all the other industrial nations in advancing new technology like this.

Um, what new technology? This ship, her engines, they're completely old school. She's notable for her size, but beyond that there's nothing in the press release that indicates anything else that's ground breaking.
 

I know you say this in jest, and it's fine that Russians have this market, but there's also the aspect that the US wouldn't allow industry to build such a vessel, in this period of societal decline.
 
And forget about private industry being 'allowed' to build a twin-nuclear-powered massive ice break. It would be tied up in red tape and lawsuits until the investors left.

So? It's not like US (or pretty much anyone else for that matter) needs such a white elephant. The Russians have this market (huge icebreakers) all to themselves because they're pretty much the only ones that need huge icebreakers. The ones the US needs to supply the Antarctic research stations are considerably smaller, and the ones needed on the Great Lakes smaller still. Back in the 1950's, when were into the Antarctic in a big way and were building nuclear powered damm-near-everything... a nuclear powered icebreaker was never seriously considered. (And even at it's peak, the USCG owned less than a dozen icebreakers.)

Does this not contribute to the big melt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310099)

We all know that ice melts quicker if it's broken apart...

What the fuck is wrong with America (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310131)

We don't do anything anymore. Sooner or later, the rest of the world will get tired of giving us a free ride.

Re:What the fuck is wrong with America (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310139)

Fuck you, Obama!!!

Re:What the fuck is wrong with America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41311843)

How ironic, as America tired of giving the rest of the world a free ride long ago.

GREAT (-1, Offtopic)

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Re:GREAT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310263)

Haha, what a pile of shit slashdot has become. It almost makes America's decline bearable, in comparison.

Let me get right on in here and say... (1, Funny)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310477)

...What do the Russians need with an icebreaker? The ice caps are melting, the thing'll be obsolete in ten or two hundred years anyway...~

Re:Let me get right on in here and say... (1)

Sabriel (134364) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310857)

They aren't melting all at once, though. If you wanted an edge, something that would help you beat everyone else to those nice prime ocean routes and drilling sites before just any old ship could get through....

Re:Let me get right on in here and say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41311625)

Did you come up with that all by yourself, or did you just copy the other 10 guys that made the same joke hours before you did?

Have you ever witnessed an icebreaker? (4, Interesting)

CaptainOfSpray (1229754) | about a year and a half ago | (#41310741)

I used to live in Stockholm, and used to see the icebreakers going out to do their stuff. I lived on top of a granite cliff two thousand yards from the path the ship was taking, and I could feel the engine vibration up through the soles of my feet into my chest cavity. I could clearly understand how those ultrasound-based crowd control weapons work. [Note that these were by comparison "tiny" icebreakers - one example of several http://www.sjofartsverket.se/en/About-us/Activities/Icebreaking/Our-Icebreakers/Research-VesselIcebreaker-Oden/Icebreaker-Oden/ [sjofartsverket.se]

Likely a waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41310951)

Since the world appears to be now cooling, it will be interesting to see what use they will have for these ships when the ice becomes thicker.

It's a well-known fact that... (1)

Progman3K (515744) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311133)

The U.S. has been relying on a Russian diesel icebreaker to deliver supplies to Antarctica due to our own shrinking fleet of the cold-water, diesel-fueled vessels."

cold water causes shrinkage

A Nuclear Icebreaker? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311335)

"Plutonium and Uranium walk into a bar...?"

Good gods, how big of one could they possibly build?

Re:A Nuclear Icebreaker? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41311645)

Good gods, did you not even read the FIRST SENTENCE of the summary?

"Eve Conant reports that Russia's dream to dominate the Arctic will soon get a boost with a $1.1 billion nuclear-powered icebreaker 170 meters long and 34 meters wide."

Helicarrier (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311387)

It's designed to navigate both shallow rivers and the freezing depths of the Northern Sea.

"Is this a submarine?!"

"Ice Arctic, it Fuck", Engineer said Russian (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311425)

Anyway Arctic, fucked it. Make faster fucked. Ice clear tanker for, fuck. Profits more me for, fuck. Warming global, cares who, fuck?

"depths" (2)

Bobtree (105901) | about a year and a half ago | (#41311543)

If it ever navigates "the freezing depths of the Northern Sea" it will just be a very expensive nuclear powered shipwreck.

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