Russia has produced the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. A barge mounted with nuclear reactors is expected to begin traversing the Arctic this month, bound for the Chukotka Peninsula. Across the Bering Strait, Alaskans are worried about radiation, though one Arctic security expert also sees room for optimism.
Øyvind Aas-Hansen with the Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (DSA) is happy to cooperate with Aleksandr Vazhenin and Pavel Borisov from the Emergency Response Centre of Rosatom, Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation. A sharp increase in nuclear-powered vessels in Arctic waters causes concern among international safety experts who recently teamed up on a voyage to the Bear Island and Svalbard to see how drones can be used to detect possible hazardous radiation.
Canada filed its Arctic continental shelf submission with the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf last Wednesday, claiming approximately 1.2 million square kilometres of the Arctic Ocean seabed and subsoil in an area that includes the North Pole.
«We will never be able to have a 100 percent rescue preparedness around Svalbard,» says Bent-Ove Jamtli, Director of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre of North Norway. He calls on the cruise operators themselves to carry life-saving equipment for mass evacuation in cold climate.
Thousands died of hunger and cold as they laid rails across the desolate areas of North Siberia. Now Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu hints he is ready to give the Transpolar Mainline project a new shot.
For the first time in history, an Arctic Council ministerial ended without a joint declaration from the Arctic states, capping off weeks of reports that the document was in jeopardy because of U.S. stonewalling on using climate language in the final document.
Senior diplomats from the eight Arctic Council countries meeting in Finland late last week struggled to come up with language on climate change that the Trump administration would support at the upcoming ministerial meeting in May, according to people familiar with these discussions.
Russia has scored an important scientific point in its quest to declare vast swaths of the Arctic as part of its extended continental shelf in the rapidly melting northern ocean, according to Russian officials.