Moscow, May 28 (IANS/RIA Novosti) 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), the Russian natural resources minister 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 ," Sergei Donskoi said.
Donskoi said he plans to discuss the platform's construction with deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin Tuesday.
The minister said although the construction of the platform, 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.
Last week, 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 break-up of the ice floe poses a threat not only to the station itself and the 16 scientists working there, but could also cause environmental pollution in the area near Canada where it is drifting, the ministry said.
The station, which opened last October, is expected to be evacuated in mid-June.