Submarines As Ore Carriers?

Thursday, April 13, 2000
Russia'sNorilsk Nickel - a big metal producer -- has finished a feasibility study of a project to use nuclear submarines for ore shipments, which once started will cost $80 million, Norilsk's chairman said. "The feasibility study has been prepared and now the board of directors has to approve spending of up to $80 million for its implementation," Yuri Kotlyar said. "But even then the decommissioning of the submarines should be sanctioned by the state." Kotlyar said the company could use two Typhoon class submarines to carry cargoes between the Arctic ports of Murmansk and Dudinka, where Norilsk units are situated. The 30,000-ton Typhoon is Russia's largest submarine, which can carry up to 20 nuclear missiles. But defense experts say that due to cash shortages not all of Russia's Typhoons carry them. In February Kotlyar said that Norilsk has instructed its research institute, Gipronikel, to prepare a feasibility study on using submarines for cargo transports due to rising freight costs of nuclear icebreakers. Norilsk has to resort to expensive nuclear-powered icebreakers to guarantee shipments of ores and concentrates between its units.

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