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Monthly Archives: November 2008 − News & Stories


Coal mining remains vital for Longyearbyen’s economy

A new study shows that Longyearbyen will depend on coal mining for a long time into the future. Even if activities within both research/higher education and tourism were doubled, they could not replace mining, which creates several hundred local jobs, both directly and indirectly. A loss of these jobs would lead to significant loss of other functions including important public services (school, …), according to a study now published by NIBR (Norsk Institutt für by- og regionforskning = Norwegian institute for city and regional research). 

Central in Longyearbyen, not only as a monument: coal miner.

Coal mining remains vital for Longyearbyen's economy

Source: Norsk Institutt by og regionforskning

New museum in Longyearbyen: Svalbard Airship Museum will open on 15 November

After a long time with a lot of work, the Svalbard Airship Museum will open its doors on 15 November. It is dediacted to the airship expedtitions that were launched in Virgohamna (1906-09) and Ny Ålesund to reach the North Pole. The new museum is located in the former cowshed (where the Svalbardmuseum was until a few years ago).

The famous airship mast near Ny Ålesund under construction in 1926. It was used by Roald Amundsen to launch the Norge and to years later again during Umberto Nobile’s Italia-expedition.

New museum in Longyearbyen: Svalbard Airship Museum will open on 15 November

Source: Svalbard Airship Museum

PCBs in Russian settlements

Scrap containing PCB, especially condensators from electric installations, have been removed by the Russian mining company Trust Arktikugol from the settlements of Pyramiden (abandoned in 1998) and Barentsburg. The items have been delivered to Longyearbyen for disposal. Pyramiden is now believed to be largely free of relevant materials; work in Barentsburg will be continued.The items delivered recently contain about 30 kg of highly toxic PCBs. Cooperation is working very well, according to Norwegian authorities, who are happy about the results achieved so far: a potential source for future contamination of the environment with dangerous substances has been largely removed, and further progress is expected for the near future.

Additionally, light elements containing mercury have been removed.

In summer 2007, higher PCB concentrations have been detected near the settlements in Spitsbergen, especially near the Russian ones. 

Scrap machinery in Barentsburg: potential source for dangerous environmental toxins.

PCBs in Russian settlements

Source: Sysselmannen

Police report against Norwegian Polar Institute

Probably for the first time, the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) has been reported to the police by a private person (Olav Vik Solheim) for having anesthetized and marked a large number of polar bears (150-200 per year in recent years). This includes following the bears with helicopters, a procedure that is not exactly easy on the animals.Soleim criticizes that the numbers of bears marked are unnecessarily high and that there is a strong inequality between different actors in the field: anybody who disturbs a polar bear, for example with a snow mobile, risks heavy fines.

The Sysselmannen has dropped the case already after a couple of days, because a punishable offence was deemed unlikely and because it would have been very difficult to investigate the case for the police. Solheim has announced that he wants to take further legal steps.

Polar bear in Spitsbergen. He does not care if disturbance is legal or not, he does not like it anyway.

Police report against Norwegian Polar Institute

Source: Svalbardposten

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