Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of July 17, 2018


Oil pump failure at boiler house results in lack of hot water
Much of Longyearbyen is experiencing a lack of hot water due to the failure of an oil pump that is part of the city’s backup power system, which is being used while the main power plant undergoes maintenance. “There is an oil pump in boiler house 1, next to the Mix kiosk, which is broken,” said Jon Bautz, one of the employees at Assemblin working Tuesday to fix the problem. “We are not getting diesel into the burner.” There is not a matching replacement for the pump in town, so for now working are seeking an alternative solution. “We’ve been working all night and up until now to connect a diesel engine outside the pump, and hope that will be possible,” Bautz said. But while the failure means the backup system is operating at less than full efficiency, Bautz said it should be possible for most residents to get hot water if they leave the tap running for a few minutes.

Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt plans to remain for a second term


Svalbard Gov. Kjerstin Askholt participates in a trash cleanup on the shores of northern Svalbard during the summer of 2016. Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Icepeople.

Kjerstin Askholt, who became Svalbard’s governor on Oct., 2015, said she is planning to remain for a second three-year term. “I definitely don’t feel like I’m finished with Svalbard and the people who live here,” she said. “I’m very happy and want to stay longer.” Svalbard has experienced major setbacks and transitions during her time, including two major avalanches and the near total collapse of coal mining, but Askholt said she wants to continue serving during a very exciting and important time. “I want to contribute to the process of change we are now in. I’m looking forward to continuing the good work that is being done, and I look forward to continuing to work and continue to live up here. This is a very fine place, where it is easy to thrive.”