BAM Nuttall wins Antarctic research base revamp

Aaron Morby 8 years ago
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The British Antarctic Survey has selected BAM Nuttall to modernise its scientific research stations in the frozen wastes of Antarctica.

Rothera

Scientific research base at Rothera will be upgraded as part of the Natural Environment Research Council’s 10-year modernisation programme

The project to modernise UK Antarctic and other research facilities is expected to cost anywhere between £40m-£100m depending on the scope of works and length of programme which could extend to 10 years.

First construction work will start in the Austral summer of 2018 with improvements to wharf and slipway facilities at the Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic peninsula. These improvements will accommodate the new polar research vessel being built at Cammell Laird.

As part of the upgrade to the base, Bam Nuttall will also construct new buildings and improve the airport hangar and landing strip.

This will include demolition of existing buildings and disposal of waste outside Antarctica.

The programme also includes new station buildings and facilities at Bird Island and Signy Island Research Stations, including jetty upgrades, cargo handling, fuel delivery systems and storage

BAS Director of Operations Captain Tim Stockings said: “This is an exciting time for polar science.  Initial construction works include the alteration and extension of the wharf and slipway at Rothera Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula in preparation for the arrival in 2019-20 of Britain’s new polar research ship.”

BAM will face unpredictable polar weather conditions. The Rothera base is built on a rock promontory situated on Adelaide Island to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Summer temperatures are typically between 0 and +5°C, and in winter range from –5°C to – 20°C, but because of its coastal location and the Southern Ocean low-pressure weather systems, temperatures can vary widely at any time of year.

Prevailing winds are northerlies, reaching gale force on around 70 days a year. Because the station is just south of the Antarctic circle, it is light for 24 hours a day during summer, and for a few weeks in winter the sun never rises above the horizon.

 

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