The ship is seen as crucial to Moscow’s efforts to develop the Northern Sea Route, which runs from Murmansk to the Bering Strait near Alaska.
A mini Suez Canal
Amid warmer weather cycles, Russia is hoping the route could become a mini Suez Canal, cutting shipping times from Asia to Europe.
“The creation of a fleet of modern nuclear icebreakers capable of ensuring regular and safe navigation throughout the year on the entire Northern Sea Route is a strategic task for our country,” said Vyacheslav Ruksha, chief executive officer of the Northern Rosatom Sea Route, in a statement.
Prior to its trip to the Arctic, the icebreaker was tested in sea trials in the stormy waters of the Gulf of Finland, sailing through high winds and towering waves.
The ship was named after a Soviet-era icebreaker of the same name which in 1977 became the first surface ship to reach the North Pole.
Russia has stepped up its construction of icebreakers in an attempt to increase freight traffic in Arctic waters.
President Vladimir Putin said last year that the country’s Arctic fleet will operate at least 13 heavy icebreakers, the majority of which will be powered by nuclear reactors.