Top Arctic stories of the week, 24 -- 28 January 2022

Photo: Gorshkov Sergey/

Top Arctic stories of the week, 24 -- 28 January 2022

Below is a recap of this week’s posts by Alexander Stotskiy (CEO, Project Office for Arctic Development) analyzing major international, national and regional events and trends in the Arctic.

Steps will be taken to improve telecom coverage in the Russian Arctic

Those who live in the Russian Arctic and Far East will enjoy better access to the internet and high-quality telecommunication services, said Russian Prime Minister Mishustin at a governmental panel session held this week. To this end, authorities plan to subsidize service packages to be offered to communities and households in the Arctic by two provider companies operating telecom satellites. In addition, new communication satellites will be deployed in the coming years to improve coverage in the region and expand the network. The Government also intends to give benefits to providers investing into telecommunication infrastructure in the country’s remote areas to ensure better connectivity of small off-grid communities. Read more…

Arctic airlines: fly more, fly safer

GLONASS, a Russian satellite navigation system, will see a wider use in the High North. GLONASS JSC and Aerokhimflot, an alliance of small air carriers, have signed a partnership agreement to improve the safety of flight in the Russian Arctic. According to the agreement, all aircraft (both manned and unmanned) operated by the alliance in the Arctic will be equipped with GLONASS satellite navigation trackers. It must be noted that the intensity of air traffic in the Russian High North will keep growing: a number of flights connecting Russian polar regions with the rest of the country will be increased this year. Many of these flights, both local and interregional, will be brought back after having been canceled owing to low profitability. Read more…

Nuclear icebreaker Sibir commissioned

The ceremony of commissioning Sibir, the second nuclear-powered icebreaker in the 22220 Project family, took place in Murmansk, the ship’s home port. The icebreaker will be deployed in the Western Sector of the Northern Sea Route. The icebreaker’s entry into service is of major importance both for the Russian shipbuilding industry and the development of the Northern Sea Route. New powerful icebreakers will play a major role in helping the Northern Sea Route reach the target freight amount of 80 million tons per year by 2024, as well as making it navigable all year round. Read more…

Equipment for Nornickel’s Sulphur Program arrived to Dudinka Port

The first batch of equipment to be used under the Sulfur Program -- six massive shell-and-tube heat exchangers -- has reached the Arctic port of Dudinka. Manufactured by the Komsomolets Machine Building Plant in Tambov, they will be installed at the Nadezhda Smelter. The Sulfur Program, a flagship environmental initiative implemented by Russian-based metal giant Nornickel, is part of the Clean Air federal project. Under this program, Sulfur dioxide capture facilities are to be set up at the Nadezhda and Copper smelters owned by the company. The program with a total cost of some USD 3.8 billion is expected to help reduce the Sulfur dioxide emissions in the Norilsk area by 90% in the coming years. Read more…

Russian Marine Rescue Service averted an oil spill in the Arctic

An operation to rescue two oil transport vessels that have run aground off the Vaygach Island coast is over, says the Marine Rescue Service. In late November 2021, two barges towed by a sea tug, with a cargo of some 7,000 tons of diesel fuel and 170 tons of kerosene onboard, were caught in storm followed by rapid ice buildup and went on the rocks. It took rescue workers more than a month to remove both vessels from their trap in the Kara Sea in an extremely complex and hard-to-perform operation mounted during polar night, with temperatures falling below minus 20 degrees Celsius. Owing to a timely and highly professional response by the Marine Rescue Service, a major environmental incident -- or even a disaster -- was averted. Read more…
Alexander Stotskiy
28 January 2022
Arctic Weekly