NPI seminar: New chemical analytical laboratory in Barentsburg: Research at present, research in the future

A dozen Russian research institutes have been working on Svalbard for decades, so the need for united infrastructure, logistics, closer cooperation and coordination, as well instrumental support emerged. The concept of Russian Scientific Center in Barentsburg managed by Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research institute (AARI) was realized in 2014. The brand new research facility for chemical analysis became a part of the new infrastructure.

The laboratory fully occupies a two-storey building of ca 300 m2. All-year permanent staff are three persons. Beside sample preparation and basic analysis facilities, the laboratory includes a modern analytical instrumentation incl. chromatographs (LC-MS-MS, GC-MS, 2xLC, GC), element analyzers (AAS & TCN) and photometers as major equipment for ultra-trace chemical analysis. Such advanced trace analysis laboratory faces a number of challenges from logistics and supplying to personnel training and research program. Some of the issues are successfully solved through RNC funded BareLab project, collaboration effort of Russian and Norwegian partners. The BareLab deliverables include a variety of joint experimental work, intercalibration exercises, technology transfer, educational activity and research training.

At present the laboratory analyzes nutrients, metals including mercury and legacy POPs, like PCBs, DDTs, PAHs in all types of matrices. Method development for emerging pollutants like pharmaceuticals, perfluorinated substances, volatile siloxanes is underway.

The laboratory served as a field base for a number of research and educational expeditions.

The experience of the first two years of operation shows that further development and efficient use of the laboratory facility seems manageable through broader involvement and collaboration as well as focusing on integrating the planned scientific work into the relevant international research projects.