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Building bridges in the Arctic: Yakutsk

29.09.2021

Murmansk State Technical University (MSTU) delegates paid a visit to North- Eastern Federal University (NEFU), Yakutsk, to discuss partnership prospects. The trip to Yakutsk was made possible through Arctic Urban Planning and Design UArctic Thematic Network financing, within the framework of the TN development activities.
First meeting at NEFU was held between academic and administrative staff of the two universities. Natalia Anikeeva, Head of International Cooperation Department, presented MSTU’s development programme and relevant areas of international cooperation. Yana Karachentseva, senior lecturer at the Department of Construction, Power Engineering and Transport, talked about the international project within green construction, technologies and eco- friendly materials implemented at MSTU. The project already demonstrates some practical results- the construction of energy efficient model object. Dmitry Filippov, Dean of the Faculty of Road Construction shared NEFU’s experience in facilitating the work of logistics hubs taking in consideration the infrastructure (access roads, energy-efficient temporary housing for drivers) and mentioned testing grounds to test-drive materials, vehicles and technologies for Arctic climate. His colleagues gave a talk on using dome structures to protect buildings from extreme cold temperatures and studying the microclimate inside the dome at different temperatures.
MSTU representatives attended "Strategies for low-carbon development of the Arctic regions of Russia in the context of the Paris Climate Agreement" section of the Northern Sustainable Development Forum. Russia’s goal under Sustainable Development Goals of the Paris Agreement is to cut CO2 footprint of economic activity in the Arctic by 70%. Currently experts develop low-carbon development scenarios in the Arctic targeted for each particular area of the region. Special highlight was given to renewable hydrogen sources and Russia’s socio-economic development programme "New Nuclear Energy" approved by the Government of the Russian Federation in July 2021. The programme aims at building small- scale land- based nuclear power plants (producing up to 300 mW) to supply remote settlements in the Arctic. The attendees also discussed possible political and financial solutions for the implementation of priority climate initiatives and projects in the Arctic areas of Russia.
Day 2 started with "Cold Lands. Russian-Japanese cooperation in the North" section of the Forum which had projects within business development, agricultural infrastructure and academic exchanges on its agenda, and a visit to the town of Zhatai- home to energy-efficient urban district demonstrating modern energy-saving solutions: special coating of enclosing structures, mechanical ventilation heat recovery systems, solar collectors to heat water, photovoltaic panels for backup power supply.
Next destination was NEFU’s "House under the Dome" testing grounds. The dome itself is 20 meters in diameter, area size is 128 m2. The dome is equipped with a top-down ignition gas boiler for heating, a highly efficient heat exchange unit to heat water, and a mechanical ventilation system. The researches carried out a multifaceted research into the microclimate inside the building and the dome, soil temperature, how living under the dome influences mental and physical health.
On September 28th leading experts from Russia, Finland, Japan and China gathered at the Plenary session of the Forum to discuss the global challenge of the present day – warming in the Arctic. The ongoing permafrost degradation negatively affects the environment, causing extinction of Arctic animal and plant species, and the infrastructure, causing accidents at industrial and housing facilities. The experts time and again emphasized the importance for the Arctic countries to join efforts in minimizing the effects of climate change.
We thank North-Eastern Federal University for holding productive meetings, engaging in fruitful dialogues and hospitality.