Drilling & Nuclear Power in the Arctic by ROBERT HUNZIKER

In the farthest regions of the north, the Russians have already drilled, but the Americans are coming. Shell makes preparation to drill. So it is, the most distant Northern Hemisphere will never be the same.

Not only that, but astonishingly, Russia is doubling down on its risky energy play with grandiose plans to power Arctic drill rigs with floating nuclear reactors. Indeed, the oil thirsty Russians plan to mass-produce floating nuclear reactors once their original model proves itself. Imagine that, an Arctic Sea filled with floating nuclear reactors used to power oil exploration drill rigs. Well now, what to say, other than speechlessness is always an antidote to shock and awe!

Thanks to excessive levels (400 ppm) of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from burning fossil fuels and the resultant global warming (2014 the hottest on record) and consequent Arctic ice meltdown (Sept. minimal ice mass of 20,000 km³ down to 7,000 km³ over four decades), oil & gas companies gain access to drilling the world’s second-to-last fossil fuel frontier. The ironies are mind-blowing, like a trip on acid!

What if there is a mistake?

Meaning, a mistake with the oil drilling, forget about the floating nuclear power plant(s), that’s too much to calculate, too much to contemplate.

“If a blowout were to occur before the winter freeze-up, it could spew oil uncontrollably for 7 or 8 months. The oil would bind with the newly formed ice, be carried far and wide by ocean currents, and released into new environments the following spring,” according to David Barber, scientist with a Canadian research group at University of Manitoba (source: Ed Struzik, Oil and Arctic Ocean Make A Highly Troublesome Mix, Environment360, Yale University, June 8, 2015).

At the end of the day, searching for oil in the Arctic may prove to be the culmination of human insanity, the alpha and omega. Yes, there are proven workable alternatives to fossil fuels.

Already, a “ghost barge” with 950 gallons of fuel on board is aimlessly drifting throughout the Arctic for months. It broke free from a tugboat in the Beaufort Sea last October, and because of inclement weather, the tug captain determined it was too dangerous to try to retrieve the barge due to turbulent seas.

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