China has kicked off renovation of its two research stations in
Antarctica, and is planning on a third permanent research base on
the continent, according to China's Polar Research Institute.
Qin Weijia, deputy director of the institute, said the
renovation had started on the Changcheng (Great Wall) station,
built in 1985 on King George Island.
The renovation will cost more than 100 million yuan (US$13
million). It is scheduled to be completed by the end of this
Qin said the facilities at the station had become outdated.
Also, underground water had eroded a few cement and steel
structures. "Some floors have cracked and crumbled, and become
very dangerous," he said.
"The new facilities will be more energy efficient and
environmentally friendly than the original ones," Qin
said. He added that they plan to construct a new research
building as well as waste and sewage treatment centers.
Soon work will also begin on the Zhongshan station, built in
1989 on the Larsemann Hills.
According to the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), the third
station will be built at Dome-A, the highest point on the continent
at 4,093 meters above sea level. It is expected to be completed
China launched its first expedition to the Antarctic in 1984.
Chinese scientists have carried out 22 scientific expeditions to
the South Pole to date.
(Xinhua News Agency August 7, 2007)