MOSCOW, March 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russian nuclear-powered submarines will participate in a project to survey Russia's continental shelf borders in the Arctic, a source in the defense ministry said Tuesday.
"The use of nuclear-powered submarines for surveying continental shelf borders in the Arctic is currently being studied at the Russian Navy Main Staff," the source said, adding that the greater part of the disputed Arctic shelf zone was below a thick icecap so systematic surveys could only be provided by nuclear subs.
The official explained that in order to delimit Russia's state border in the Arctic along the continental shelf line, it was necessary to present detailed seabed maps of the disputed zone to the UN.
"This is about Russia's control over huge hydrocarbon reserves in these parts of the world oceans," he said.
Experts estimate that about 100 billion metric tons of oil-equivalent hydrocarbons are concentrated on Russia's Arctic sea shelf.
The sea shelf also contains major reserves of various types of solid-state minerals, including non-ferrous, rare-earth, and precious metals.