Svalbard Global Seed Vault is meant as a natural deep freeze to
back up the world's gene banks in case of disasters ranging from
nuclear war to global warming. It has about 900,000 seed
The revamp would cover "construction of a new, concrete-built
access tunnel, as well as a service building to house emergency
power and refrigerating units and other electrical equipment
that emits heat through the tunnel," the Agriculture Ministry
said in a statement.
An unexpected thaw of permafrost meant some water flowed into
the entrance of the tunnel to the vault in late 2016. A decade
ago, Norway said that it had cost $9 million to build the
In 2015, researchers made a first withdrawal from the vault
after Syria's civil war damaged a seed bank near the Syrian city
of Aleppo. The seeds were grown and re-deposited at the Svalbard
vault last year.
"This demonstrates that the seed vault is a worldwide insurance
for food supply for future generations," Agriculture Minister
Jon Georg Dale said in a statement.
($1 = 7.8579 Norwegian crowns)
(Reporting by Alister Doyle; editing by Mark Heinrich)
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