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Russian Arctic National Park to set up reserve area on Novaya Zemlya

August 21, 9:36 UTC+3 VORKUTA

In order to expand the tourist options, the park authorities consider using the Defense Ministry's runways for civil aircraft and constructing helicopter pads

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© A. Kibalchich/TASS

VORKUTA, August 21. /TASS/. The Russian Arctic National Park has all required permissions for organizing a reserve on the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago and hopes the area would be ready before the yearend, the Park's Director Alexander Kirilov said.

"We have received all the approvals for organization of a reserve area, all the documents are at the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources, and thus we are hoping to finalize soon the procedure of a reserve area... Everything is done at the regional level... I believe, before end of the year [2017] we shall manage organizing it," he told TASS.

The Russian Arctic National Park is the northernmost and the biggest natural reserve in Russia. It unites the Franz-Joseph Archipelago and the northern part of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago. TASS wrote earlier, the reserve is organized on the Severny Island of the Novaya Zemlya Archipelago and the neighboring waters of the 12-mile area.

The reserve will take 1,046,234.3 hectares, thus the total area of the Russian Arctic National Park would be more than nine million hectares, and it once again will become the biggest reserve in the world.

Park's future

The Park plans opening a museum center, which will use all the modern technologies, the director said. The Park will continue developing the territory and its field bases, both on Novaya Zemlya and on Franz Josef Land.

"We are working on new ways to bring tourists to the territory, first of all we have to consider the anthropology affect to see how many people could Franz Josef land accommodate without damaging the Arctic nature," the director said.

In 2011-2016, more than 5,000 tourists visited the Park, where almost 95% were foreigners, he continued. First of all those are guests from China and Germany. The number of tourists remains stable for years and could be explained by the high prices on tours - not many can afford a trip worth two million rubles ($34,000). Within the current year, the 50 Let Pobedy nuclear icebreaker will make five voyages to the North Pole to bring tourists to Franz Josef Land.

The cost of renting the icebreaker is five million rubles a day ($85,000), the tour is 12 days long. This explains the high prices, the director explained.

In order to expand the tourist options, the Park considers using the Defense Ministry's runways for civil aircraft and constructing helicopter pads.

Alternative energy

Another direction in the National Park's development is use of alternative energy resources. Sollar panels have been delivered to the Gukera Island, and the installation would be over before the year [2017] ends, the director said.

A solar-wind power plant has solved the problem of electricity for the local residents of the country’s backbone area - the Zhelaniye Cape of the Russian Arctic national park - the northern part of the Northern Island of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, which is considered to be a border between the Barents and Kara Seas. In 2015, on the cape appeared the northernmost facility for generating electricity of renewable sources.

"The idea to use alternative energy was from the very beginning, from the moment the park was organized, though we doubted it would be working. The conditions are unusual, not like in the areas for which alternative energy is used most often - the midland and the south, where it works fine. In 2013, we had an experiment: we brought to the cape the equipment for tests. The results were good, especially in solar energy," the park’s director said.

It took about one month to install the 24 solar panels and two wind generators. The batteries now produce up to eight kilowatts and every field season, which usually is from early July to late September, the park saves about 1,000 liters of fuel and cuts the emissions. This year, with additionally installed solar batteries, the Zhelaniye Cape will have the system of 36 batteries. On the cape, the produced power was such "that for two months we did not have to use traditional generators, we received sufficient electric energy for the field base," the Park's director said. "And we did not limit ourselves - even had welding works."

A similar system, though without wind generators, will be installed at Bukhta (Bay) Tikhaya, which is yet further to the north - on the Gukera Island of the Franz-Josef Land. Another large-scale project for renewable sources of energy will begin at the Omega Park on the Zemlya Alexandry (Franz Josef Land). Here, 240 solar panels will produce up to 15 kilowatts. At Omega, this system will not only produce electric energy, but will also heat the base - using the solar energy, the facilities there will have electricity in spring, summer and autumn.

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