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Arctic Development is One of Russia's Key Scientific and Technological Development Priorities

8 April 2019
Освоение Арктики – один из ключевых приоритетов научно-технологического развития России

On 8 April 2019, the Youth Day of the International Arctic Forum hosted a panel session titled ‘Arctic Development is One of Russia’s Key Scientific and Technological Development Priorities’.

Moderator Oleg Naraykin, Vice President of the National Research Centre ‘Kurchatov Institute’, told about the history of the Arctic exploration in 11–13 centuries by the Russian Pomors, its new significance, objectives and priorities for the development of the Russian Arctic.

«The Arctic is of strategic importance not only for the country’s security and defence but also in providing its economy with energy, mineral and biological resources for future generations,» said Oleg Naraykin. He also noted the Northern Sea Route’s (NSR) great significance for the country and the prospects for the development of the nuclear icebreaking and transport fleet for its year-round operation. The NSR is a unique Russian-only sea route. The volume of transported goods should reach about 80 million tons by 2024. Nuclear power is of particular importance for the integrated development of the Arctic, including the inventions of the National Research Centre ‘Kurchatov Institute’, such as a low power 1 MW unit with a life cycle of at least 15 years. The development of the Arctic region is a complex interdisciplinary task and should be based on nature-like technologies, the moderator believes.

Alexander Bedritsky, President of the Russian Hydrometeorological Society, a national public organization, noted that the Arctic region presents a multitude of factors to be taken into account and the environment is a complex component for interaction and impact. The area is susceptible to climate fluctuations; there should be strict requirements for hydrometeorological and environmental safety. Also, we need alternative low power energy sources, the speaker said.

Alexander Frolov, a Member of the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO, in his speech talked about the global and regional climate trends. He noted that the 1961–1990 observations demonstrated a steady pattern of global warming. Plus 0.18°C in 10 years and +1.8°C in 100 years. While in Russia, this rate is 2–2.5 times higher, in the Arctic, the process goes even faster: it is +7.0°C in 100 years. Experts believe that this is the result of an anthropogenic factor, i.e. human agency.

Oleg Sirazetdinov, Director of Consolidated NPP Equipment Procurement of AO Rusatom Overseas, spoke about low-power nuclear power plants in the range of 6–10 MW, up to 50 MW and 50–300 MW, which are to provide electricity and heat for cities, ports and towns of the Arctic.

Raif Vasilov, Deputy Head of the NBICS Nature-like Technologies Complex, National Research Centre ‘Kurchatov Institute’, believes that the development of the northern territories requires a particular approach. The Russian Arctic is about 4 million square km with only 2 million people. 60% of the region is permafrost, so just a third of the Arctic is populated. 95% of the annual northern delivery is fuel. It calls for wind and solar energy development. Bioenergy also opens prospects: biomass is processed for gas and heat discarding traditional gasification. The development and use of circular (wasteless) technology is an ecological strategy of the future.