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Feature: Burnt down research station in Antarctica to be reborn under BRICS cooperation

(Xinhua)    16:47, September 05, 2017

BEIJING, Sept. 5 -- A burnt down research station in the Antarctica is expected to be reborn next year thanks to cooperation built by the BRICS bloc, which will enable it to continue generating benefits to the globe, even including the southernmost point on the Earth.

Under an international contract, a Chinese enterprise will complete the reconstruction of the seriously damaged research station with rich experience and adept skills within only four months during the summer time in the Antarctica.

It will be the first time for a Chinese enterprise to rebuild a foreign research station in the Antarctica under contract. China has gained rich experience from long-time practice in the chilly environment, which makes countries like Chile, Argentina and Brazil seek China's expertise.

In 2015, China Electronics Import &Export Corp. (CEIEC) defeated other international bidders and won the contract for rebuilding the Ferraz Station owned by Brazil, which was originally built in 1984, and which was burnt down in 2012 owing to fire caused by function fault of generators group.

China already has four Antarctic research bases of its own -- Great Wall, Zhongshan, Kunlun and Taishan. The Kunlun station was erected at Dome Argus (Dome A), the pole's highest icecap at 4,093 meters above the sea level, in 2009. Kunlun was built with a technique known as the complete assembling model, which is a mainstream construction technique capable of effectively shortening the duration of construction and on-site work.

Located near the westerly belt, the Ferraz Station has always been swept by winds above Force 6 in most of the year. With all 12 months having an average temperature below 5 degrees Celsius, it is expected that snow will be accumulated to 2 or 3 meters in depth in November when the Chinese project team reaches the location, said Wei Wenliang, former head of the Polar Expedition Office from the State Oceanic Administration of China.

"The work of constructing a 100,000 square meter building in China does not equal to the work of building a research station of thousands of square meters in the Antarctica," the veteran, who has been to the South Pole 17 times, told Xinhua.

"The construction is a total turnkey project... We will turn the drawing sheet handed to us into a concrete property in the Antarctica, and we are in charge of a whole chain from material supply, equipment, logistics and on-site organization," he said.

Rui Furtado, CEO of Afaconsult, a Portuguese designing company in charge of the station's design, said the project is devised by the prefabrication method and all the four-month construction time will be spent on assembling.

That means that any tiny flaw in the prefabrication period might cause big problems in assembling.

Cao Hong, head of the Ferraz Station project from CEIEC, said, "The design's accuracy reaches the level of Swiss watch manufacturing." The station's construction meets the standard of mechanical working rather than that of steel structure.

Jose Costa Dos Santos, Brazilian Navy lieutenant commander and head of the project, said the two countries share common targets in scientific research in the Antarctica, and that they can tap potential in scientific and research exchanges and logistic support.

Wei said the contract for rebuilding the damaged station opened a new model of cooperation between China and Brazil and within the framework of BRICS grouping Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

There is great potential in BRICS or BRICS Plus cooperation in the Antarctic research both in commercial joint construction of stations and joint scientific and technological research.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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