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Russia will Renew Antarctic Station
January 15, 2014 15:35


The head of the Ministry of Environment believes that scientific researches in Antarctica are the main tool of ensuring the geopolitical interests of the Russian Federation on the continent. Russia will renew its research stations in Antarctica and will enhance them technologically. This was stated by the head of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Russia Sergey Donskoy at Vostok Antarctic station, the office press service reported. Russia "keeps its leading position" in Antarctic research, the minister said.

He believes that "scientific research in Antarctica is the main tool of ensuring Russia's geopolitical interests on the continent," the press service reports. As Donskoy has underlined, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment plans to revise the financing of the "Organization and support of works and scientific researches in Antarctica" subprogram, when drawing up the budget for 2015 and for 2016-17 planning period.

In particular, it is planned to supplement the subprogram with measures for upgrading the Antarctic stations and seasonal field bases, renewing the transportation, instruments and equipment, carrying out first-priority R&D works. Such measures "will allow continuing researches of global significance, to modernize Russian Antarctic stations infrastructure, first and foremost – the unique intracontinental Vostok station, successfully implement the development strategy of Russia's activities in Antarctica for the period up to 2020."

In 2014 the amount of 1 billion rubles will be spent on station activities. According to Donskoy, the leadership of Russian science in researching the Frozen Continent was proven, in particular, with penetration into the water mass of Lake Vostok through the deep ice well in 2012. "The highest environmental requirements have been met while doing this work," the minister underlined. Antarctic’s climate changes over the last 420 thousand years were reconstructed based on the isotopic analysis of ice cores extracted from the wells. On January 11, 2014 the well depth was 3647 m.

During the visit to Vostok station, located at 3488 meters above sea level, Donskoy participated in the process of lifting the ice core, formed from the water, frozen inside the wellbore. Speaking about the current circumstances, the chief of Vostok station Alexei Turkeev noted that all scientific researches of the subglacial Vostok lake were carried out within the subprogram, which expired in 2013. For now, "further financing from the state budget is stopped, which can halt the priority R&D works and infrastructure modernization of the Russian Antarctic expedition," he stated. In 2014, only current activities will be supplied with the amount of 1 billion rubles: the maintenance of five year-round Antarctic stations, five seasonal field bases, two strengthened ice class vessels and aircraft leasing facility.

The president of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Fortov, who also visited Vostok, noted that additional funding for Antarctic researches could be raised with the help of Foundation for Fundamental Research.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Antarctic Station Vostok station Russian Academy of Sciences   

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