February 26 marks exactly 10 years since the opening of the Svalbard Global Seed Bank (SGSV). This is the place where the seeds of cereals and other agricultural crops from all over the world are collected and stored in case our civilization is "covered" by a nuclear war or a global ecological catastrophe. Hence its second, unofficial name - "Doomsday Warehouse".
It is located on one of the islands of the Arctic archipelago Svalbard (Norwegian Svalbard), near the Norwegian village of Longyearbyen. Taking into account the fact that it must withstand the blows of the elements and even a nuclear explosion, it was placed in a special grotto carved into the rock at a height of 130 meters.
The repository is said to hold 850, 000 seed samples from around the world, which are stored on racks at –18 ° C in special sealed, labeled boxes.
By the way, this is far from the only such place of storage of the seed fund. There are more than 1, 700 of them in the world. However, these seed banks have a lot of serious problems - insufficient financing, weak infrastructure, lack of qualified personnel.
The need for a seed bank became apparent in 2015, when 116, 000 samples of various seeds were sent to a Syrian seed bank in Aleppo, which was damaged by the civil war. After 2 years, the seeds germinated and the newly grown samples were sent back to Norway.
According to a spokesman for the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture, an additional $ 13 million will be allocated for the development and renovation of SGSV - in particular, part of the funds will go to repair some premises damaged by sudden flooding due to the melting of permafrost at the end of 2016. It is planned to build a new tunnel, a building that will house emergency systems, refrigerators and thermal electrical equipment.