Oops! Sorry, thats visible via my subscription. Here's a snip.
Published online: 21 June 2006; | doi:10.1038/441912b
Doomsday food store takes pole positionRemote island hosts global seed bank.
There's something fitting about the decision to site a bastion against the end of the world in a place that looks as if it has already experienced the apocalypse. On 19 June, a construction crew started work on a doomsday seed bank from which the genetic riches of Earth's food crops could, if necessary, be reconstituted. The location: the island of Spitsbergen in the Svalbard archipelago, a desolate place where the winters are long and dark, and polar bears outnumber people.
The island's remoteness, say staff at the Global Crop Diversity Trust, a charitable organization based in Rome that has helped develop the bank, makes it the ideal location to store samples safely. Spitsbergen is free of tectonic activity, and its permafrost would preserve seeds at around -4 °C. Coal from a local mine will be used to power refrigeration units that will further cool the bank to the internationally recommended standard of -20 to -30 °C.
"It's a resource that needs to last for ever," says Cary Fowler, the trust's director....