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Monthly Archives: December 2010 − News & Stories


PCB-project completed

Good Christmas news: The project to remove local PCB sources from Spitsberen is now completed with the final delivery of relevant items from the Russian settlement Barentsburg to Longyearbyen for destruction in Finland.

Over three years, a total of 4.762 items, mostly older electrical components, containing the long-lived, dangerous environmental toxin PCB, have been removed from settlements in Spitsbergen. 3.750 of these come from the Russian settlements Barentsburg and Pyramiden.

Barentsburg: Spitsbergen’s largest PCB-provider

PCB-project completed - Barentsburg

Source: Sysselmannen

Pass control in Longyearbyen

Starting 01 February 2011, everybody will have to present a passport or ID card when entering or leaving Spitsbergen territory. This is due to regulations of the Schengen treaty, which requires pass control on the outer borders. Because of the Spitsbergen treaty signed in 1920, Spitsbergen („Svalbard“) is not part of the Schengen treaty area (citizens of all signatory countries have unlimited right of residence), opposed to Norway, the Schengen border is between Norway and Spitsbergen. Accordingly, Norwegian authorities are obliged to introduce pass or ID card control at Longyearbyen airport for all passengers, including Norwegian citizens.

As Norwegian citizens do not (yet) have ID cards, they can alternatively use a driving license issued after 1998, bank card or military ID papers. Children, who do usually not have driving license etc., may be identified by an accompanying adult. Once Norway has introduced national ID cards, it has to be used by Norwegian citizens to enter or leave Spitsbergen.

Longyearbyen airport: soon with pass control

Pass control in Longyearbyen

Source: Norwegian government press release No 156-2010, 15 December 2010.

Northern light activity maximum in 2013/14

Northern light activity is connected to the activity of the sun, which constantly sends charged particles into space that react with the Earth’s higher atmosphere and magnetic field. The sun’s activity varies slightly with an 11 year periodicity. The next maximum is expected near 2013/14. Northern light fans should be on watch that winter.

Northern light in Spitsbergen, October 2008.

Northern light activity maximum in 2013/14 - Borebukta

Source: Nordlicht-Forscher Dag Lorentzen (UNIS, Longyearbyen), Svalbardposten

Jan Mayen Nature Reserve

The Norwegian island of Jan Mayen north of Iceland has been declared a nature reserve on 19 November 2010. The protected area includes the whole island with the exception of the station area and the landing strip. Additionally, a 12 mile zone around the island is also protected.

The regulations are similar to those concerning the nature reserves in the Spitsbergen islands, but tourism – very limited on Jan Mayen anyway – will have to deal with restrictions: landings from ships inside the nature reserve are prohibited unless the station commander gives permission (this formalizes a common routine) and camping is only allowed for station crew and their guests.

Visitor on Jan Mayen

Jan Mayen Nature Reserve - Eggoya

Source and more details (Norwegian): press release of the Norwegian government

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