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Expert: New construction technologies minimize impact from permafrost thawing in summer

These include corrugated stilts that have larger areas of freezing with the ground than smooth stilts at the same depth, according to the research institute director

MOSCOW, August 13. /TASS/. The permafrost’s thawing in summer is not hazardous if modern technologies are used in construction, Director of the Melnikov Permafrost Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Siberian Branch Mikhail Zheleznyak said in an interview with TASS.

The Academy’s continuing Great Norilsk Expedition will, among other, test durability of buildings and condition of land beneath them. The experts will analyze whether the spill of fuel in Norilsk was caused by the permafrost thawing.

“We have new materials and new forms of stilts,” the scientist said. “Nowadays, builders use corrugated stilts that have larger areas of freezing with the ground than smooth stilts at the same depth. They also use various insulation materials.”

Climate and ground conditions differ in the Extreme North’s districts, and thus solutions should be different for every specific area, he added.

“While 40 years ago in Yakutsk builders used 10-meter stilts, which were considered deep, nowadays stilts go down 15 or 16 meters, depending on weights,” he said. “By having a bigger area of freezing between stilts and the ground, we minimize the risk of destruction.”

Another major problem for the construction in the conditions of the North is concrete, which crumbles from significant temperature fluctuations. In stilts and other reinforced concrete structures iron fittings rust, which is dangerous. Russia has been working on new grades of concrete, the scientist said.

About expedition to Taimyr

The Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences for the first time in recent years heads for the Taimyr Peninsula at the invitation of Nornickel. The big scientific expedition will study the peninsula and later on scientists will present suggestions for industrial companies, working in the Arctic, on how to preserve the nature.

The expedition’s key points will be watersheds of the Rivers Pyasina, Norilka and Ambarnaya and Lake Pyasino. The expedition will work for five months – from July to November. It will feature experts from 14 research institutes of the Academy of Sciences’ Siberian Branch. By the end of August, they will collect samples of soils, plants and sediments and then will begin working at labs. The first results may be available in November-December 2020.