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Replacement of the Russian North Pole research stations

Monday, 16 Apr 2018

Russia plans to build a floating research platform for the Arctic region.

The reduced area of Arctic ice because of global warming makes it increasingly difficult to undertake research in Arctic. The platform has a preliminary investment cost of around 98 million euros. The new platform is to replace the North Pole research stations based on drifting ice flows. The planned self-propelled platform will have the highest level of ice protection and be able to move autonomously around in Arctic waters for up to three years, said Russian Minister of Natural Resources Mr Sergey Donskoy. The active development phase is to begin before June this year and construction will start in 2019, Donskoy said. No yard has yet been named but observers tip the United Shipbuilding Corporation for the order. The platform is a joint project with Russian meteorological service Roshydromet and was outlined as a priority programme in the recently adopted social and economic development scheme for the Arctic. The platform will be named North Pole and be operated by Roshydromet. The Soviet Union and later Russia has operated floating research stations in the Arctic since 1937, with a break in the years 1991-2003. In recent years, research stations have normally been established on an ice flow in September-October, and some two dozens of scientists would spend the winter on the ice, measuring climate and weather conditions. During the last couple of years, it has become more and more difficult to find ice flows solid enough to hold a station. The last such ice station, the North Pole-40, was established in October 2012, and had to be evacuated in May 2013, because the ice the base was placed on started to break apart.

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