The Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel is the newest ship class for polar research needs, optimized for these environments, but capable of serving as a general research vessel as well. The ship is driven by two Ga-17 Nuclear Reactors, making this the first nuclear powered civilian vessels offered for export by Silverport Dockyards.
The Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel is a classic monohull-design, featuring a reinforced double-hull plated in steel usually used for warships.
Although this is expensive, it has two reasons: First, this is a Polar Research Vessel and therefore it is very likely it will meet ice - which would cause lesser materials to be ripped open. This is even worse in combination with a second reason, namely, that this a nuclear powered vessel. Do you want to have a weak-hulled nuclear vessel attracting any sort of desaster, including icebergs, imagineable?
We didn't think so, too.
It has another major advantage as this allows the Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel to act as an icebreaker as well and to run supply lines to polar research stations. In combination with the helicopter pad astern, it gives the vessel an anstonishing supply range.
Should the worst happen anyway, the hull is separated into eight compartments with the nuclear reactors on either end of the ship, balancing the load of the heavy pieces of equipment.
The Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel is lined with exterior sensors and has a Hull-Mounted Sonar, a Navigation Radar and an Air-Search Radar in addition to the meteorological station and its sensors onboard.
To keep the cold outside and the warmth inside the ship, every hatch has an airlock-system akin to those used in space, which are similarly airtight. The outer hatch cannot be opened if the inner hatch is open and vice versa.
Even in the depth of a snowstorm, the crew can happily sit inside and guzzle down tea with a good lacing.
The hangar has only one gate, but can be heated up to working temperature. We recommend the gate not to be left open. The hangar has all necessary workshops nearby, which can also be used to maintain the oboard-complement of snow mobiles and other light all terrain vehicles. Two cranes on either side, rated for a maximum of five tons, can lower them onto the ice or freight into the main cargo holds.
The Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel is equipped with laboratories for the onboard complement of scientists, including two high-security biological laboratories, one containment unit for caught animals, separated into twenty holding cells, lovingly called The Zoo, two deep freezers for ice cores, a medical laboratory, a meteorological lab (including instruments on the superstructure) and six labs for different usages.
The Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel has space for sixty passangers, taking account for the need to transport scientists to and from polar research stations as well as the odd lone expedition. Tourists can be transported as well, but the Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel has little in the ways of entertainment or onboard activity.
The Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel is equipped with a Type 901 Datalink, a civilian cousin of the Type 900 Datalink found on SDY's military vessels. It is a system for Duplex Communication in real time, processing the gathered data in real time. The system connects the sensors, labs and the bridge, storing the resulting data both locally and transmitted home via satellite connection. Personal computers and gaming devices are usually disconnected from this system, but can be connected (the Type 901 can act as the host for a Local Area Network for games).
The reactors are two Ga-17 Pressurized Water Nuclear Reactors, producing 200 Megawatts together, placed on either end of the vessel.
As far as nuclear reactors go, it operates like land based power plants do as well, heating water to produce steam, which power steam turbines to produce electrical power. The feed water, which is turned to steam, is pumped aboard, demineralised, and used. The reactor is cooled by a cooling cycle, supported by the external cooling system, namely the ice outside. We recommend to primarily use the Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel in cold areas with cold surroundings and not in the tropics.
90% enriched Uranium Fuel Cells need to be loaded as power cells. We also recommend employing experienced nuclear reactor technicians.
The Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel's life began as so many SDY-Designs begin: The engineers were bored and threw around ideas and at the wall, looking for what stuck. One of these things was the idea to build a nuclear powered research vessel, later turning into the idea to make the main area of operations the polar regions, providing the crews with a base to operate from nearly indefinately, at least energy-wise.
From there on, the idea developed into the Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel, hitting a few problems along the way. One of them was the cooling system, which was either too heavy, acted up, wasn't powerful enough or all of the above, simply because the first intention was for the Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel to be a Nuclear-Powered Research Vessel for use all around the world. Since the hull required a bit of strength and armour plating, being the hull of a nuclear-powered vessel, the construction simply couldn't support four reactors (our first intention was to use the older and less powerful Ga-11) and their double-redundant cooling systems, reconstructing it thrice didn't solve the problem.
In the end, the solution was simple: Scrap Ga-11, use Ga-17. With the more powerful Ga-17, the number of cooling systems was reduced to two, while including the very sea around the ship into the cooling systems added up to something called by the engineers the "2.5-times-redudant cooling system". This caused the Caorthann-class Polar Research Vessel to shed a lot of weight, further sticking to the program resulted in the vessel turning into a dedicated research vessel optimized for colder waters, not only polar regions.
Construction of the first vessel, the Caorthann, a ship shared by the Universities of Silverport, Leuda and Launceston, began in 2010, delivery problems resulted in delays. She was completed in spring 2014, beginning with trials and commissioned late 2015. She was sent to her first arctic mission by the University of Silverport in 2016.