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More than 150 ships around the world use nuclear propulsion.

Traveling Aboard a Nuclear Powered Icebreaker

Icebreaker in action

The Arctic Ocean used to be one of the least known and least visited oceans in the world, but now more adventure travelers are enjoying the sites and sounds of the North Pole in style and comfort thanks to nuclear powered icebreakers.

In the late 50s, icebreakers ensured safe passage of cargo ships crossing the Arctic circle covered in shifting ice packs. In the 70s, these vessels began assisting scientific expeditions. In the late 80s, the nuclear powered icebreakers joined the tourism industry providing adventure vacations to areas most tourists were unable to get to. Today, nuclear powered vessels make the North Pole an easier place to visit for scientists and tourists alike.

How They Work

These massive ships are designed to ride up on the frozen ocean waters using their sheer weight to smash through the frozen layers of ice that exist year-round. Made with a strong steel hull and a special skin to withstand the frigid water temperatures, these ships can charge through ice that’s as thick as seven feet, keeping travelers safe and warm.

Nuclear power is preferred over diesel because it allows these vessels to be at sea for long periods of time, only needing to refuel once every four years. The amount of room this technology takes up on board is also a benefit because many ships must carry their own diesel fuel aboard, losing valuable cargo space, which makes voyages less cost efficient.


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