News of the WeekPOLAR RESEARCH

Broken-Down Icebreakers Hamstring U.S. Science

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Science  09 Jul 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5988, pp. 128-129
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5988.128-b

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Scientists' access to the polar regions depends on an over-the-hill and increasingly fragile U.S. icebreaking fleet. A 2006 report from the National Academies called for building two new icebreakers, but Congress has so far been unwilling to pony up the estimated $2 billion or more that would be needed to upgrade the fleet. And the latest breakdown has scientists worried about the fate of future research cruises.