(AFP, 25 August 2009) -- UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to visit a Norwegian island deep inside the Arctic Circle, near the North Pole, to see firsthand the effects of climate change, his spokeswoman said. Ban is scheduled to arrive in Oslo on August 31 for an official visit where he will be received by Norway's King Harald V, and hold meetings with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere. He will also place a wreath on the tomb of Trygve Lie, the first secretary general of the United Nations. The following day, on September 1, Ban will head to Longyearbyen, a town on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. The UN chief will spend two days visiting polar stations and research institutes on the island, which is part of the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic ocean. Ban hopes "to see firsthand the impact of climate change in the Arctic," his spokeswoman Michele Montas said Monday. He will receive "the latest update on issues related to the thinning ice and make his way to the polar ice rim," he said. After his visit, Ban is scheduled to head to Geneva to participate on September 3 in the third World Climate Conference, organized by the UN's World Meteorological Organization.
Posted 26 August 2009; 4:06:25 PM. Permalink
(BarentsObserver, 25 August 2009) -- Next Monday will mark the removal of the last radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) from a lighthouse on the Island of Vaigach. State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Elisabeth Walaas, will go to Vaigach to overlook the removal. Since 1998 Norway has, in consultations with Russian authorities, financed the removal of RTGs and replaced them with environmentally friendly solar cell technology. The Norwegian Government has spent more than $20 million kroner on the RTG removals with the aim to avoid radioactive contamination of the marine and terrestrial environments. Also, it is important to remove the strong radioactive sources from the remote—and unguarded, areas to prevent unwanted access to sources of radioactivity. According to information from the County Governor of Finnmark in Norway, there have been four attempted thefts from lighthouses powered by strontium batteries in the northern areas. The County Governor of Finnmark is the project manager on the Norwegian side, while the removals are coordinated by Rosatom on the Russian side. After removal the radioactive sources from the RTGs are sent to the Mayak plant in the South Urals for long-term storage. The first lighthouses with RTGs to be removed were those near the border to Norway west of the Fishermen’s Peninsula on the Barents Sea coast. Originally there were 180 RTGs in the Barents Region. Half of them were removed before 2006.
Posted 26 August 2009; 12:45:04 PM. Permalink