Friday, April 20, 2007

Siberia-Alaska tunnel



As Larry pointed out, Russia has reinvented a project to build a tunnel between Alaska and Chukotka (map), with a safe highway, railroad, oil pipelines, and fibers to speed up The Reference Frame for readers in Eastern Siberia.

The project expected to become an international one will soon be presented to the people in the U.S. and Canada. Walter Hickel (GOP), a former governor of Alaska (and a secretary fired by Nixon), is already among the staunch supporters of the project, together with the LaRouche conspiracy family that has been promoting this tunnel for decades. ;-)

Its 100 kilometers are twice the "chunnel" under La Manche between Britain and France. The tunnel itself would only cost $10 billion but with the additional 4000 miles of railroads needed on the continents to make it useful, it is a $65 billion project, about 1/5 of money annually wasted for the Kyoto protocol.

It is a purely business project. Note that Russia sold Alaska for 7.2 million old dollars which is 1.67 billion new dollars. So the tunnel, to be completed around 2020, will cost 40 times more than what Russia earned by selling Alaska itself. But it still seems as a good investment to me, especially because $20 billion a year may be saved for electricity costs on both continents.




The Reference Frame also recommends American investors to design and build a 112-mile tunnel from Florida to Cuba and Japanese and Korean investors to build a similar tunnel from Japan to South Korea. The Chinese investors should connect Taiwan and continental China, too.

History

The idea is not new. It was first proposed in 1905 by Nicholas II of Russia, the last czar. Unfortunately, in 1918, when the new Czechoslovak legions occupied about 1/3 of Siberia, the #$#$ bolsheviks were afraid that as the Czechoslovak troops return home and possibly take over Yekaterinburg, they would free the czar. So a #$#$ bolshevik called Sverdlov ordered to exterminate the imperial family immediately. His comrades were so grateful that they renamed Yekaterinburg to Sverdlovsk.

After similar but less bloody events occured in Czechoslovakia itself 30 years later, Sverdlovsk became a twin city of my hometown, Pilsen, and I spent summer 1988 over there, teaching Czech language to our Russian friends again. This trip is also the reason why I have been to Asia 100 times: what can you do on the boring border between the continents for 2 hours else than jumping back and forth? The trip was an interesting experience - virtually everyone in that city strongly believed in communism - unlike most Czechs - and they were extremely proud about the U.S. airplane they shot down in 1960.
Off-topic: EU ETS carbon indulgences were sold for 1 euro two months ago. Now they're below half a euro, see euets.com.

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