Friday, April 20, 2007

The Chunnel Begets ... The Strunnel!

On the train to France entering the Euro Tunnel (Taken on June 11, 2006 ) - Image Credit: Flickr - mbcrawford

The Chunnel Begets ... The Strunnel!

Russia is proposing to dig a tunnel, a very long tunnel, by which crossing and transporting goods across the Bering Strait to Alaska (and back) can be accomplished without the necessary calculations for weather and/or the limitations of air transport.

Much like the "Channel Tunnel" - The Chunnel ... I supposed one could call it The Strunnel!

The Chunnel, (Euro-Tunnel), Mini-Europe, Bruparck, Brussels (Taken on May 19, 2005) - Image Credit: Flickr - demode

Excerpts from Bloomberg (ht: SlashDot) -

Russia Plans World's Longest Tunnel, a Link to Alaska
By Yuriy Humber and Bradley Cook

April 18 (Bloomberg) -- Russia plans to build the world's longest tunnel, a transport and pipeline link under the Bering Strait to Alaska, as part of a $65 billion project to supply the U.S. with oil, natural gas and electricity from Siberia.

The project, which Russia is coordinating with the U.S. and Canada, would take 10 to 15 years to complete, Viktor Razbegin, deputy head of industrial research at the Russian Economy Ministry, told reporters in Moscow today. State organizations and private companies in partnership would build and control the route, known as TKM-World Link, he said.

A 6,000-kilometer (3,700-mile) transport corridor from Siberia into the U.S. will feed into the tunnel, which at 64 miles will be more than twice as long as the underwater section of the Channel Tunnel between the U.K. and France, according to the plan. The tunnel would run in three sections to link the two islands in the Bering Strait between Russia and the U.S.

"This will be a business project, not a political one," Maxim Bystrov, deputy head of Russia's agency for special economic zones, said at the media briefing. Russian officials will formally present the plan to the U.S. and Canadian governments next week, Razbegin said.

The Bering Strait tunnel will cost $10 billion to $12 billion, and the rest of the investment will be spent on the entire transport corridor, the plan estimates.

The Chunnel Construction Tour (Taken in August 1989) - Image Credit: Flickr - aplumb
In Alaska, a supporter of the project is former Governor Walter Joseph Hickel, who plans to co-chair a conference on the subject in Moscow next week.

"Governor Hickel has long supported this concept, and he talks about it and writes about it," said Malcolm Roberts, a senior fellow at the Anchorage-based Institute of the North, a research policy group focused on Arctic issues. Hickel governed Alaska from 1966 to 1969 as a Republican and then from 1990 to 1994 as a member of the Independence Party.

Alaska's current officials, however, are preoccupied with other issues, including a plan to develop a pipeline to transport natural gas from the North Slope to the lower 48 U.S. states, Roberts said.

Rail links in Russia and the U.S., where an almost 2,000- kilometer stretch from Angora to Fort Nelson in Canada would continue the route, would cost up to $15 billion, Razbegin said. With cargo traffic of as much as 100 million tons annually expected on the World Link, the investments in the rail section could be repaid in 20 years, he said.

"The transit link is that string on which all our industrial cluster projects could hang," Zubakin said.

Japan, China and Korea have expressed interest in the project, with Japanese companies offering to burrow the tunnel under the Bering Strait for $60 million a kilometer, half the price set down in the project, Razbegin said.
The figures for the project come from a preliminary feasibility study. A full study could be funded from Russia's investment fund, set aside for large infrastructure projects, Bystrov said.

Reference Here>>

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