Novaya Zemlya, Russia: an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean / Russia deploys S-300 in Novaya Zemlya: A new regiment equipped with the lethal long range surface-to-air missile system becomes operative in the Arctic archipelago. / Novaya Zemlya is closed military area strictly controlled by the Russian Armed Forces. / A floating nuclear power plant in the Arctic …

Novaya Zemlya, Russia, the Franz Josef Land Islands & the Kara Sea (above) May 11, 2018.  Note the cracking ice and open waters.  Will the Arctic be “ice free” by the end of the 2018 summer?  Novaya Zemlya is actually two separate islands solely used by the Russian military. The contrast etc. are maxed to enhance the clarity and details.                                                                                                              

Novaya Zemlya (Russian: Но́вая Земля́, IPA: [ˈnovəjə zʲɪmˈlʲa], lit. the new land), also known as Nova Zembla (especially in Dutch), is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in northern Russia and the extreme northeast of Europe, the easternmost point of Europe lying at Cape Flissingsky on the Northern island.  Novaya Zemlya is composed of two islands, the northern Severny Island and the southern Yuzhny Island, which are separated by Matochkin Strait.  Administratively, it is incorporated as Novaya Zemlya District, one of the twenty-one in Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia.  Municipally, it is incorporated as Novaya Zemlya Urban Okrug.

Greenland (upper left), Iceland (going from left to right), The Barents Sea, Svalbard Norway, Franz Josef Land & Novaya Zemlya Russia and the Kara Sea (in the screenshot image above) / May 10, 2018.  The contrast & saturation are pushed. Norway in on the middle-bottom.                                                                                                

Its population as of the 2010 Census was 2,429, of which 1,972 resided in Belushya Guba, an urban-type settlement that is the administrative center of Novaya Zemlya District.  The population in 2002 was 2,716 (2002 Census). The indigenous population (from 1872 to the 1950s when it was resettled to the mainland) consisted of about 50–300 Nenetses who subsisted mainly on fishing, trapping, reindeer herding, polar bear hunting and seal hunting.  Natural resources include copper, lead, and zinc.

Novaya Zemlya, Russia (above) May 9, 2018. Note the cracking ice. Novaya Zemlya is actually two separate islands used by the Russian military. The contrast etc. are maxed to enhanced the clarity and details.                                                                      

Novaya Zemlya was a sensitive military area during the Cold War years and is still in use today. The Soviet Air Force maintained a presence at Rogachevo on the southern part of the island, on the westernmost peninsula (71.61787°N 52.47884°E).  It was used primarily for interceptor aircraft operations, but also provided logistical support for the nearby nuclear test area.


Novaya Zemlya was the site of one of the two major nuclear test sites managed by the USSR, used for air drops and underground testing of the largest of Soviet nuclear bombs, in particular the October 30, 1961 air burst explosion of Tsar Bomba, the largest, most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated.   [WIKI]



Russia deploys S-300 in Novaya Zemlya
A new regiment equipped with the lethal long range surface-to-air missile system becomes operative in the Arctic archipelago.
By Atle Staalesen / December 09, 2015

The latest piece in Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic is the deployment of a fully-fledged missile-powered regiment in Novaya Zemlya.

The regiment will have at its disposal a series of modernized S-300 units, the mobile missile system which can hit enemy targets at up to 400 km range, the press service of the Russian Armed Forces informs.










The new military unit is the first fully-featured Northern Fleet unit stationed on an Arctic archipelago. Until now, only smaller groups and sub-units have operated in the area, the press service says.
The development of the regiment and the shipment of the S-300 system has taken place in the course of the year.

The S-300 is considered among the world’s most potent surface-to-air missile system.  It has been a core component in the Soviet Union’s and Russia’s Armed Forces since it came into service in 1978.  A newly developed model of the missile system is called the S-400 and was in 2014 deployed in the Kola Peninsula.

Russia is the process of significantly upgrade its military bases in the Arctic. In addition to the Novaya Zemlya forces, the country will have powerful round-the-year troops stationed in the Franz Josef Land, the New Siberian Islands and several more places.

As previously reported, the complex ”Severny Klever” at the island of Kotelny in the New Siberial Islands will be able to house 250 people, among them both military personel and service staff. At the Alexander Island in the Franz Josef Land, a total of 150 military officers will be able to live automously for 1,5 years at the complex.

By year 2018, Russia intends to have a total of nine operative Arctic airfields, some of which are under modernization, some under total reconstruction.

Novaya Zemlya, Franz Josef Land Islands & the KARA SEA Russia (above) May 8, 2018. The contrast etc. are maxed to show the cracking melting ice patterns.

Nuclear power for Novaya Zemlya mining
Rosatom considers to take use of small-scale nuclear reactors for the projected Pavlovsky mine in Novaya Zemlya.
By Atle Staalesen / February 26, 2018

The proposal was presented by researchers at the ATOMECO conference in Moscow. A mini-NPP with 6,6 MW capacity would be able to deliver the necessary power for the development of the Pavlovsky mine, the researchers from the NIKIET institute argue.

The NIKIET is a research and design organisation subordinated to the state nuclear power company Rosatom.  The researchers believe their 400 ton heavy model «Shelf», a capsule with reactor originally designed for offshore projects, can be applied in the Pavlovsky mining.

According to Aleksandr Pimenov, institute General Director for innovative projects, the mini-NPP will be able to deliver power at less than half the cost of alternative solutions, a press release informs.

The construction of the Shelf reactor would cost about 6,7 billion rubles, Pimenov told RIA Novosti.

The Pavlovsky is owned and developed by Rosatom itself. It holds an estimated 2,48 million tons of zink and 549,000 tons of lead.  ARMZ, the mining subsidiary of Rosatom, intends to start construction of the project plant in year 2020 and launch production in 2023.

It will be the northernmost mine in the world and annual output is set to 220 thousand tons of zinc, 50 thousand tons of lead and 16 tons of silver. The deposit is located 15 km from the west coast of the southern of the two Novaya Zemlya islands and a new port and terminal facility with annual out-shipment capacity of 500,000 tons is projected.

Rosatom originally planned to start production already in 2019. Also costs are being revised. The company first planned to invest 37,5 billion rubles (€543 million) in the project. However, Arkhangelsk Governor Igor Orlov in December 2017 confirmed that investments now are estimated to about 100 billion (€1.45 billion), TASS reports.

Novaya Zemlya is closed military area strictly controlled by the Russian Armed Forces.

It is not the only Russian project which includes the use of power from mini-NPPs. In 2015, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu ordered a pilot project on development of mobile nuclear power stations. The reactor installations can be moved around on wheels and sleds and supply power to remote military bases, the minister argues.

Between 1973 and 1975, the southern island of Novaya Zemlya was used for larger underground nuclear tests. Of the seven detonations that took place in the area, several ventilated radioactive gases to the atmosphere because the explosions were not deep enough in the ground.

From 1976 to 1990, all underground nuclear tests took place at the northern test-range in the Matochin Straight. Since 1990, only so-called sub-critical nuclear tests have been conducted at Novaya Zemlya.


Novaya Zemlya Russia, The Barents Sea and the KARA Sea Russia (above) / May 7, 2018. Contrast & saturation maxed to reveal cracking ice.                                 

Novaya Zemlya is priority in 2018, says Northern Fleet / Russia
Expeditionary forces will make comprehensive explorations of the country’s biggest Arctic archipelago.
By Atle Staalesen / February 15, 2018

It covers a strictly militarised territory of more than 83,000 square km and stretches north of the 74th parallel.  The two major islands of the archipelago constitute a key foothold of the Russian Armed Forces and is an area of enhanced military interest. One of the top priority tasks of the Northern Fleet in 2018 is the complex exploration of Novaya Zemlya, Head Commander Nikolay Yevmenov made clear this week.

Special purpose soldiers from the Northern Fleet’s coastal forces will lead a series of expeditions, and only officers and contract soldiers will be involved. It will be organised in cooperation with the Russian Geographical Society. All will be conducted on a voluntary basis, the press service of the Northern Fleet informs.

The forces will study how experiences from historical expeditions in the area can be applied in the interests of Arctic security, and a special historical research unit is being established, a press release reads. The need for this kind of activities has increased after the formation of the Northern Fleet as a joint strategic command structure in 2014, says Admiral Yevmenov. We have a need for enhanced knowledge about the region, he argues.

«The increase in the number and scope of the Navy expeditions and the revitalisation of military preparedness in Arctic waters, archipelagos and adjacent territories requires a comprehensive and complex study of the areas,» Yevmenov says.

Aurora at Arkhangelsk, Russia

There is a major number of military infrastructure objects in the area. Many of them of historical importance and can hardly be applied today. However as objects of historical importance, they still deserve attention, Admiral Yevmenov argues.

The expeditions will follow the historical routes made by 19th century explorers and study military sites and facilities built during the Second World War. Of special interest are bases and infrastructure developed by German occupiers during the war, as well as Soviet post-war Navy facilities in the area, the Northern Fleet informs.

Novaya Zemlya is closed military area strictly controlled by the Russian Armed Forces.  It has a population of about 2,900, the lion’s share of which lives in Belushya Guba, the settlement located on the southwestern part of the archipelago.

Between 1973 and 1975, the southern island of Novaya Zemlya was used for larger underground nuclear tests. Of the seven detonations that took place in the area, several ventilated radioactive gases to the atmosphere because the explosions were not deep enough in the ground.

From 1976 to 1990, all underground nuclear tests took place at the northern test-range in the Matochin Straight. Since 1990, only so-called sub-critical nuclear tests have been conducted at Novaya Zemlya.

Novaya Zemlya Russia (above) / May 5, 2018. The contrast etc. are maxed.

5 reasons why a floating nuclear power plant in the Arctic is a terrible idea
by Jan Haverkamp / 2 May 2018

This enormous monstrosity is the world’s first purpose-built floating nuclear power plant.  It’s now bound for the Arctic. No, we’re not joking. No, this isn’t science fiction. This is really happening.

Rosatom, the Russian state-controlled nuclear giant, is launching the “Akademik Lomonosov”, the first of its kind, into the world. It’s currently being towed through the Baltic sea, where it will go all around Scandinavia to Murmansk, to be fueled and tested, before it heads off on a 5,000 km journey through the Arctic. They plan on building and selling more plants like these to other countries, like China, Indonesia, and Sudan.

We already know the risks of drilling for oil in such a wild and fragile region, but a floating nuclear reactor could be even worse. Here’s why:

1. It’s a catastrophe waiting to happen
Nuclear reactors bobbing around the Arctic Ocean pose a shockingly obvious threat to this wild and fragile environment.
Rosatom has said that the plant “is designed with the [sic] great margin of safety that exceeds all possible threats and makes nuclear reactors invincible for tsunamis and other natural disasters.” Remember the last time a ship was called ‘unsinkable’?
Nothing is invincible. The problem is that this nuclear titanic has been constructed without any independent experts checking it. In Chernobyl, there was a similar lack of oversight.
This plant’s flat-bottomed hull makes it particularly vulnerable to tsunamis and cyclones. A large wave can pitch the power station onto the coast. It also can’t move by itself. If it comes loose from its moorings, it can’t move away from a threat (an iceberg or a foreign vessel, for example) increasing the risk of a deadly incident. A collision could damage its vital functions and lead to a loss of power and damage its cooling function, and that could lead to a release of radioactive substances into the environment.

2. Imagine how hard it will be to deal with the consequences
There are so many things that could go wrong here: it could flood, or sink, or run aground. All of these scenarios could potentially lead to radioactive substances being leaked into the environment.
In the case of a collapse, the core will be cooled by the surrounding seawater. While this seems like a good idea, when melting fuel rods come into with seawater, it will first lead to a seawater explosion and potential hydrogen explosions that will spread a large amount of radioactive isotopes into the atmosphere.
A damaged reactor could contaminate much of the marine wildlife in the near vicinity. That means that fish stocks could be contaminated for years to come. A radioactive Arctic is not a pretty scenario. The areas around Fukushima and Chernobyl are already difficult to clean up; imagine the polar night, deep sub-zero temperatures and Arctic storms.

3. The terrible track record of nuclear ships, icebreakers and submarines  
There is very very long list of incidents and accidents with existing nuclear submarines and icebreakers.
The very first nuclear icebreaker, Lenin, had a cooling accident in 1965, resulting in a partial meltdown of the core. The damaged radioactive core was dumped in the Tsivolki Bay near the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in 1967. In 1970 the reactor of a nuclear submarine (K-320) started up by itself at Krasnoye Sormovo wharf in Russia, releasing large amounts of radiation and causing hundreds of people to be exposed. An accident during fuel loading of the reactor of a nuclear submarine in Chazma in 1985 irradiated 290 workers leading to 10 casualties and 49 people injured. The list goes on…
Rosatom’s plans to build a fleet of floating nuclear power stations means an unprecedented increase of the risk of nuclear incidents and accidents in the Arctic.

4. A nuclear dumping ground on water
We already have more nuclear waste than we know what to do with. We don’t need any more.
The reactors on this plant are smaller than conventional land based nuclear plants and will need refuelling every two to three years. The nuclear waste will be stored onboard until it returns after 12 designated years of operation. That means that radioactive waste will be left floating around in the Arctic for years at a time.
Not only is this incredibly risky, there is still nowhere secure for the spent fuel to be transported to once it’s on land. No power source should create waste that takes milennia to be safe.

5. It’s using nuclear power to help extract more fossil fuels
As if this floating nightmare wasn’t absurd enough, the reason it’s being towed to the Arctic is to help Russia dig for more fossil fuels. The main reason it exists is to provide northern oil, gas, coal and mineral extraction industries industries with power.
And we don’t need to repeat the reasons why more fossil fuels are terrible news for the climate. We just need to protect the Arctic from this potential disaster.
Jan Haverkamp is a nuclear energy and energy policy consultant with Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe

5 reasons why a floating nuclear power plant in the Arctic is a terrible idea

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