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Antarctic base suffers power outage at -55C

Posted on Sunday, 10 August, 2014 | Comment icon 6 comments

A team member stands next to one of the station's modules. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Richard Burt
The 13 staff members at Halley Research Station in Antarctica have been attempting to fix their heating.
A power failure during the winter can be a big problem at the best of times, but when it happens at a base on an ice shelf in Antarctica while the temperatures outside are plummeting towards -55.4C a lack of heating can prove to be extremely dangerous.

This is the situation that's been facing the British Antarctic Survey team at Halley Research Station this month after an unexplained power failure left them without any heating at all.

Fortunately the team were able to restore limited power and heat however the cause of the problem has yet to be determined. The timing of the failure has been made all the more problematic by the fact that the region happened to be experiencing record low temperatures at the time.

"Contingency plans for alternative accommodation on site are in place and ancillary buildings are being made ready in case of a further power-down," the British Antarctic Survey said in a statement. "Our urgent priority is to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of the wintering team."

Source: Sky News | Comments (6)

Tags: Antarctica, Expedition

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by libstaK on 7 August, 2014, 14:37
Those modules look nice and modern, no doubt well equipped to withstand the elements etc .... but you can't put an open fireplace or pot belly stove in them. Emergency backups need to be non mechanical. They should have a Stone Cottage filled with dry wood and a fireplace and potbelly stove inside just for these type of contingencies. Maybe now they will consider that.
Comment icon #2 Posted by StRoostifer on 7 August, 2014, 15:34
What is the energy source they have lost? I do not recall the article saying. Either way I hope they get it resolved. Man that's some cold temps!
Comment icon #3 Posted by ancient astronaut on 10 August, 2014, 14:53
My guess is generators.
Comment icon #4 Posted by bubblykiss on 10 August, 2014, 17:56
3 dog night? No. 13 scientist night, yes.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Scheming B on 10 August, 2014, 17:57
I believe I accidentally rented a video like this from the backroom of a local rental place. ...I rented it accidentally 5 more times
Comment icon #6 Posted by :PsYKoTiC:BeHAvIoR: on 14 August, 2014, 13:03
I believe I accidentally rented a video like this from the backroom of a local rental place. ...I rented it accidentally 5 more times That makes us both accident prones.

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