The facts are these: Russia has natural gas. Central and Northern Europe needs natural gas. In between Russia and its natural gas customers is the Baltic Sea. The Finnish government approved the construction of a line through its section of the Baltic Sea to carry natural gas. Everybody’s happy, right?
Wrong. Because in the heavily polluted Baltic Sea are an estimated 150,000 unexploded bombs (it’s a big sea) left by the German and Russian armies during World War II, 70 of which lie in the proposed natural gas line’s path. This here is a problem that can only be solved by the bravest and most danger-seeking of robots.
Bactec International, which has previously helped with a similar project in the Falklands, will identify the precise location of each bomb, and then send in robots to detonate them. “But what about the vibrant marine life in the Baltic Sea, including herring, codfish, flounder, and turbot, all of which are delicious?” you might ask. The answer: After warning all nearby ships to vacate the area before a blast, the robots will set off a much smaller explosion to scare away any fish (presumably this explosion is extremely small, since explosions are kind of the problem here in the first place). Then the robots will initiate a “seal screamer,” which is a series of incredibly loud noises designed to scare off marine mammals. Then, they detonate the bomb. Repeat 69 more times.
Unfortunately, there’s no provided picture of the robots, which may or may not (they do not) look like the Terminator crossed with Bruce Willis circa Armageddon, but regardless, this is a huge undertaking. It’s the biggest commercial mine-clearing project ever, but if everything goes according to plan, the natural gas line could be up and running as soon as 2012.
[Via The Infrastructurist]