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Russia Considering Permanent Arctic Research Base

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(EIRNS)—The construction of a year-round Arctic research platform that will step up Russia’s presence in the energy-rich region is expected to cost up to 7 billion rubles
($223 million), Russian Natural Resources Minister Segei Donskoi said. "This will mean Russia will have a year-round presence in the North Pole... If we are able to create such a platform, it will be a breakthrough, because other countries don’t have these platforms; everyone uses icebreakers." He said he plans to discuss the platform’s construction with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on May 28.

Donskoi said that although the construction of the platform, which is expected to take about six years, is quite expensive, it is still "a real solution to the problem" of finding a base for Russia’s research work in the Arctic. The problem was evident just last week, when Donskoi ordered the preparation of an evacuation plan for the country’s North Pole 40 (SP-40) drifting polar research station, due to the break-up of the ice floe on which it is located. The station, which was opened last October, is expected to be evacuated in mid-June.

A permanent base for researchers is a first step in the direction of building an entire city in the Arctic of the kind that Russian designers and engineers are envisaging with their UMKA project. At an Arctic Forum meeting in Arkhangelsk, Russian
scientists presented a draft of a unique city to the northern latitudes — "Umka". "It is assumed," Russia’s reported in the context of the recent May 14-15, Arctic Council meeting in Kiruna, Sweden, "that it can be built using technologies to [allow residents to] survive even on the Moon, and to live comfortably in a strategic outpost of the Russian Arctic, as well as a base for the development of geological
resources, including oil and gas." [RAP]