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Nornickel extends nuclear-powered icebreaker support of its vessels in the Arctic

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(Kitco News) - Nornickel, the world's largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a major producer of platinum and copper, and Russian state nuclear company Rosatom have signed an addendum to their 2018 icebreaker cooperation agreement.

The company said that the addendum will be effective until 2030 and that the parties intend to continue cooperating on providing uninterrupted and environmentally safe icebreaker support for vessels navigating the Northern Sea Route.

The addendum envisages a broader partnership framework to meet the planned increase in Nornickel's freight traffic along the Northern Sea Route. The company said it is ramping up its shipping volumes to prevent delays in its strategic investment projects in the Norilsk Industrial District, including the Sulphur Programme, Nornickel's key environmental initiative.

As one example, Nornickel pointed out that Rosatom will extend the icebreaker support period for Nornickel vessels. Taymyr/Vaygach type nuclear-powered icebreakers are currently used from January to May, and under the addendum, they will now escort vessels from November to May.

Kirill Komarov, Rosatom First Deputy Director General, said that Rosatom and Nornickel have been successfully cooperating to enable icebreaker escorts for cargo ships along the Northern Sea Route.

"The extension of our agreement until 2030 clearly shows that the profitability of Arctic projects is linked to the efficiency of the nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet," added Komarov.

Nornickel noted that additional agreements are planned which will cover comprehensive icebreaker support services to be provided by nuclear-powered Project 22220 icebreakers over a period of 15 years.

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