Thursday, September 25, 2008

Russia should reactivate nuclear icebreaker fleet - Putin

VOLZHSKY UTYOS (Samara Region), September 25 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government should take concrete steps to reactivate the country's nuclear icebreaker fleet, the Russian prime minister said Thursday.
"We will act calmly in this direction, having in mind another component - a further exploration of the Northern Sea Route. The government, together with state nuclear power corporation Rosatom, should take concrete steps... from the viewpoint of reviving the nuclear icebreaker fleet," Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with the ruling United Russia party's regional representatives.
The Northern Sea Route is a shipping lane from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean along Russia's Far Eastern and Siberian coasts. The lane is only free of ice for around eight weeks a year.
Speaking about Russia's presence in the Arctic, Putin said the country was acting within "current international law."
Russia has undertaken two Arctic expeditions - to the Mendeleyev underwater chain in 2005 and to the Lomonosov ridge last summer - to back national claims to the region.
Russia earlier said it would submit documentary evidence to the UN of the external boundaries of the Russian Federation's territorial shelf in 2009.
Under international law, the five Arctic Circle countries - the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia - each currently have a 322-kilometer (200-mile) economic zone in the Arctic Ocean.


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