Thawing ground imperils buildings


IQALUIT — Thawing permafrost in Russia is creating serious hazards for major buildings and installations, including one nuclear power station.

According to the journal Nature, the Bilibino nuclear power station and its grid are in an area of high risk in the Russian Far East due to the increasing instability of the soft ground there.

Several large population centres in this region, plus roads and the trans-Siberian and Baikal-Amur railways, are at moderate risk of damage from thawing permafrost.

Also at high risk is an area containing the natural-gas production infrastructure at Nadym-Pur-Taz in northwest Siberia.

According to the journal, changes in permafrost may occur gradually, so with monitoring, catastrophic events can be avoided.

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