The prime minister had a chance to see into the future of the Arctic. Along with the offshore platforms, new developments will include cities for scientists. One such project was displayed at the exhibition. Umka, an Arctic village, can house up to 5,000 residents and will be completely isolated from the outside world by a huge dome with a controlled temperature.
“Researchers could live there permanently rather than for short expeditions only,” the developers say. “It is modeled after an imaginary Moon city or a completely isolated space station.”
A domed city will be built on one of the New Siberian Islands in the Arctic Ocean. While the developers are working on that design, another effort is the exploration of the Northern Sea Route. It will substantially shorten the time required for shipping between Europe and Asia. Between some city pairs, shipping time could be cut by more than ten days.
The total area of Kotelny Island is 23,165 km². Kotelny is one of the 50 largest islands in the world. West part of Kotelny Island proper, also known as “Kettle Island”, is the largest section of the group, with an area of 11,665 km². It is rocky and hilly, rising to 374 m on Mt. Malakatyn-Tas. The Chukochya River flows westwards to the Laptev Sea. The Anisiy Cape 76.200°N 139.1167°E is the northernmost headland of Kotelny and it is an important geographical point for it marks the NE limit of the Laptev Sea.
Sources say it will house soldiers, border guards and secret service officers, as well as scientists and explorers, as Moscow gets serious about its claims to Arctic mineral riches.
Nicknamed “wonder city”, it will be built at a cost of up to £4billion (US$6.3 billion) on the remote island of Kotelny, in the Novosibirsk archipelago, 1,000 miles from the North Pole.
The Umka designs are based on the International Space Station, but it is vast by comparison, just short of a mile long and 800 yards wide.
Electricity will be supplied by a floating nuclear power station. It will be totally self-sufficient with fish and poultry farms, greenhouses, a wheat processing factory and bakeries.
On September 22, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Arkhangelsk, the city hosting The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue international conference. In his video teleconference with the Prirazlomnaya oil platform, Putin reminded people who dominates the Arctic. It is expected that the region can produce up to 6.5 million tonnes of oil annually while Gazprom plans to extract the gas equivalent of up to 11 billion tonnes [annually] from the shelf area by 2030. The premier promised that oil and gas projects would not affect the Arctic’s fragile environment.
“We must make sure that the region is preserved in its natural state for future generations,” he said, but added, “…as much as it is possible for man to preserve anything in its original state given that our planet is a living organism and is constantly changing.”
Putin ordered a massive clean-up in the Arctic to get rid of the barrels and other toxic waste left by Soviet explorers. The first portion, namely 2.3 billion roubles, was allotted for the clean-up of the Franz Josef Land archipelago, with the villages on Spitsbergen and Wrangel Island waiting their turn.