Prospects for the Arctic and the AHEAD-Snowflake project in an interview to the Russian television channel

Yury Vasiliev, Executive Director of the Institute of Arctic Technologies, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology spoke about the challenges of working in the Arctic region, explained main principles of the Snowflake project, and shared his plans in an interview to the Russian television channel Russia 1.

The link to the full interview in Russian language.
English translation of the interview :

High-speed internet is coming to the Arctic region in 2022, hundreds of investment projects are available through 2025 and thousands of job vacancies will offer new opportunities for the next 15 years. So, all attention is on the Arctic.

- Well, we will now discuss all of these with Yury Vasiliev, Executive Director of the Institute of Arctic Technologies, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.
- Yury, Good morning! For a long time, the Arctic offered great potential, but especially today a lot of attention and money is focused on the Arctic, why?
- First of all, this is one-fifth of our country, with more than 300 settlements. The Arctic is our history, but the Arctic is also the North Sea Route, which is an economic interest of Russian and international industrial companies. Thus, the Arctic is an investment for our future.
- But nonetheless, it is difficult to reclaim the region, there are difficult climate conditions.
- From the time of the first Arctic pioneers, challenges have persisted. Last week I was lucky to work close to Murmansk on the coast. During the daytime, already at 2 p.m. it is so dark outside, even darker than in the early morning when we go to work, but in Murmansk there are also strong winds. Jokingly, the nearby village where people live is called the village of flying dogs.
- About flying dogs and wind energy, using hydrogen fuel you plan to build an autonomous research complex in the Arctic in 2023, if I'm not mistaken. The Snowflake, as this complex will be called, won't melt?
- Of course not. We have no other way. My Russian colleagues and I have set an ambitious goal–to build a unique object for the world, which will be 100% ecological, so it will work without imported fuel, without hydrocarbons but with wind power.
- But do you work with wind in these conditions?
- If there is no wind, we do not work with wind, and at the polar night we even do not work with the sun. Thus, the main challenge is to store energy when there is wind. In simple words, we are talking about a big hydrogen battery and energy is just a part of the project. Actually, the project is also about medicine, telecommunications, autonomous robotics, hydrogen transport, and aero- and hydroponics.
- May I continue your list? What about tourism, for example? This is basically internal tourism.
- Yes of course, you are right, development of tourism is another of our task.
- And may students come there?
- At the station we will pay a lot of attention especially to educational programs for high school students and young scientists interested in arctic regions. We are planning to organize international children's camps like mini-Arctic Artek.
- And would the infrastructure be appropriate?
- As for the infrastructure, living capacity will be 80 guests, including staff in residential modules. The modular structure of the facility allows for gradual expansion as new partners arrive. There would also be a kitchen, recreation room, forums, and labor. So, this is a multifunctional complex.
- It seems like space. I hope prices would not be stratospheric.
- No, the government invests in the infrastructure and in this complex for building future new technologies and new solutions for decades since 2023.
- We wish you good luck, implementation of all your plans, and that nothing will prevent you from reaching your goal.