Statsbygg Communication Manager Hege Njaa Aschim says to High North News that the work on rehabilitating and sealing the entry area to the seed vault is going according to plan, and that everything is to be ready by May/June this year.
- This includes the new service building, to which the activities that formerly took place in the entry areas now have been relocated. That means less activity and fewer people into the seed vault, which will be reserved for the seed, Aschim says.
Statsbygg has now constructed a waterproof concrete tunnel leading from the surface in to the vault. They have also replaced the permafrost masses.
- How does Statsbygg view the future of the vault now? Not long ago, the MetOffice presented a rather scary perspective on the development of a.o. the permafrost on Svalbard.
- We are building the vault for a warmer future. When the permafrost layers were replaced, we also added frost tubes and covered it all with insulating mats. This is a system that experts say will maintain the frost itself, we “assist” permafrost and our frost aggregates are not running all the time.
It is more a form of preparedness that secures frost in the entry tunnel. The seed vault itself is located inside the mountain and is meant to last for a long, long time, Aschim says.
The work on closing the leaks in the entry areas of the global seed vault, reduce heat sources and moving the technological monitoring systems out to the new service building was originally estimated at some NOK 100 million.
- We will probably need some NOK 20 million more than that. The NOK 100 million was an estimate, and what we have done on Svalbard is rather advanced pioneer work, says Communication Manager Hege Njaa Aschim of Statsbygg.
This article originally appeared in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.