Science and Technology for Arctic Development


Important scientific and technological developments in the Russian Arctic are limited to 1-2 successful inventions lately. One of them is the well-known Snowflake International Arctic Station. Let's look a bit more at changes that occurred between February 2022 and February 2023.

Snowflake IAS is a fully autonomous year-round diesel-free facility powered by renewable energy sources and hydrogen fuel

Nowadays more than 500 organizations in 50 regions of Russia are engaged in expertise, research and advanced developments on broad Arctic issues, and for good reason.

Efficient and sustainable development of the Arctic is one of the key national priorities of the Russian Federation. This is stated in the Executive Order “Basic Principles of Russian Federation State Policy in the Arctic to 2035.” signed by the President. Let us briefly recall its key provisions and aims:

  • Carrying out fundamental and applied research in priority areas of scientific and technological development; organizing expeditions in the Arctic;
  • Development and implementation of advanced technologies for the Arctic;
  • Strengthening nature protection activities;
  • Providing sustainable infrastructure development through innovations in the context of global climate change;
  • Creating health-saving technologies in the Arctic;
  • Further improvement of the scientific research fleet of the Russian Academy of Sciences;

Unprecedented external pressure and sanctions disrupt existing supply chains. In this regard, the Russian government continues to work on creating the infrastructure of the Northern Sea Route. The government also approved the amount of budget investments in the construction of the Bukhta Sever oil loading terminal. These funds will be allocated for deepening the Bukhta Sever port, installation of navigation aids, etc. This will make it possible to escort ice-class vessels with a payload of more than 120,000 tonnes. All the infrastructure improvements are expected to be completed in 2024.

Another part of the funds is allocated for the creation of a Northern Sea Route digital ecosystem. It is expected to be launched in mid-2025. Thus, it will be possible to collect more complete information about weather and navigation conditions, monitor the situation in real time. In fact, it is about creating an 'Ice Navigator.' It will increase the safety of shipping along the Northern Sea Route in the constantly changing conditions of the Arctic Ocean.

The Northern Fleet plays a key role in the protection and sustainable development of the Arctic. Northern Fleet Arctic Group ships practiced their eleventh drills along the Northern Sea Route in August- October 2022. The exercises were aimed at ensuring security for Russia's islands and the mainland coast. Landing exercises, anti-terrorist exercises, and others were also held within the drills.

The Captain System is worth mentioning in the context of the development of the Arctic subsoil. The system was launched in 2019. The Captain system is a piece of software that is responsible for managing logistics in the harsh Arctic climate. Artificial intelligence recalculates the schedule of tankers and shipments of energy raw materials from terminals and chooses an optimal route from more than 66.5 million options. Thanks to the Captain system, the unit costs for the export of one ton of Arctic oil decreased by 12% compared to the years before this system started to be used.

'Akademik Fedorov'

Russia continues to upgrade its research fleet. In this regard, it is planned to build the new Ivan Frolov research vessel. It is expected that the vessel "Ivan Frolov" will replace two ships, Mikhail Somov and Akademik Fedorov, the first of which was built in 1975 and the second in 1987. Ivan Frolov research vessel will be able to serve the existing Russian stations in Antarctica and the Arctic. The vessel will house 20 modern laboratories, and a helipad for the heavy Mi-8, Mi-38 and Ka-32.

As part of the Arctic orbital satellite constellation creation, two Arktika-M spacecraft should be launched into orbit that will provide data on the hydrometeorological situation in high latitudes. The plans also include three radar surveillance satellites. By 2026, four Ekspress-RV satellites will be deployed to provide broadband Internet access in the Russian Arctic region.

The editorial board of The Arctic Century



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