Doomsday Vault Hits the 1M Mark

As the Global Seed Vault turns 10
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2018 8:07 AM CST
This is a March 2, 2016, file photo of an exterior view of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the secure seed bank on Svalbard, Norway.   (Heiko Junge/ NTB scanpix, File via AP)

(Newser) – Monday was a "really significant" day for the so-called Doomsday Vault—and not just because it was its 10th birthday. The Global Seed Vault in Svalbard, Norway, has since 2008 stored seeds within a mountain on a Norwegian island 800 miles from the North Pole, and on Monday the number of crops it stores crossed the 1 million mark, thanks to a new shipment that included varieties of black-eyed pea and the Bambara groundnut. The BBC puts its number of deposits at 1,059,646, which is 90,000 less than what could have been following a withdrawal related to the war in Syria. That's enough to nearly fill one of the vault's three chambers, leaving room for what scientists believe will be the eventual total count: 2.2 million crops.

Voice of America reports 73 institutions from around the globe have contributed seeds, and it points out a notable country not found on the list: China, though it's apparently discussing the possibility of making a deposit. Seeds aren't the only thing pouring into the vault: money, too, in order to extend the vault's "viability," as Bloomberg puts it. Norway on Friday announced $13 million in upgrades to what was originally a $9 million construction job, reports Reuters. It quotes the Agriculture Ministry's description of the planned work: "construction of a new, concrete-built access tunnel, as well as a service building to house emergency power and refrigerating units and other electrical equipment that emits heat through the tunnel." (There was a breach at the vault last year.)

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