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Author Topic: BAS Halley Station loses power and heat at -55.4 C  (Read 1837 times)

Jim Hunt

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BAS Halley Station loses power and heat at -55.4 C
« on: August 08, 2014, 05:07:53 AM »
According to BBC News:

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All power, including heating, to an Antarctic research station housing 13 people was lost for 19 hours.

On the Twitter hashtag #Halley6 scientist Anthony Lister "tweeted":

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Whilst all the fun was happening at #halley6 (not that it's over) we had the lowest ever recorded temps down here at -55.4. Which was nice.

According to a statement from the British Antarctic Survey on August 6th 2014:

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British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is dealing with a serious operational incident at its Halley Research Station. On Wednesday 30 July 2014 a major technical issue resulted in the station losing its electrical and heating supply for 19 hours. All 13 station staff are safe and in good health.

Our urgent priority is to ensure the continued safety and wellbeing of the wintering team. Power and some heating are back online, and some other essential services have been restored, but the staff are having to live and work in extremely difficult conditions. The station has had good satellite communications throughout the incident. Contingency plans for alternative accommodation on site are in place and ancillary buildings are being made ready in case of a further power-down.

It is now clear that because of the nature of the incident, and the prolonged loss of power, the station cannot now return to normal operation in the short or medium term. Everyone at Halley and Cambridge is doing everything that can be done to ensure that the incident remains under control.

All science, apart from meteorological observations essential for weather forecasting, has been stopped.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Jim Hunt

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Re: BAS Halley Station loses power and heat at -55.4 C
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2014, 02:14:52 PM »
Another news bulletin from the British Antarctic Survey has this to say:

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The 13 members of staff at Halley Research Station continue to remain safe and well following the power-down incident on 30 July 2014.

The power-down was caused by a large coolant leak from the main arterial pipe in the station heating system which led to the generators overheating and shutting down.

After the initial incident, the Halley team worked round-the-clock and was able to restore power and some heating to the station.

At present the power supply is being kept at a stable load while the Halley technical team continue to check, test and re-enable engineering systems on the station. 

The leak in the main arterial pipe is beyond repair, so the coolant in the heating system has been drained down.  Access to the pipe has been very difficult because of very low outside temperatures (at times minus 55 degrees centigrade).  Scientific instruments that are used for atmospheric research remain switched off so that the electrical energy can be used to heat the living accommodation.

Planned station engineering and research for the forthcoming season is being rescheduled.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

icefest

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Re: BAS Halley Station loses power and heat at -55.4 C
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2014, 01:28:40 AM »
Is it too cold for wind energy to work? I know some antarctic stations use wind energy to supplement their generators.

Mawson station was ~70% wind last month: http://www.antarctica.gov.au/living-and-working/stations/mawson/living/electrical-energy
Open other end.