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Nunavut condemns planned Russian rocket launch over Arctic

Russia: Keep “toxic space junk out of Inuit marine waters.”

The Government of Nunavut (GN) has been advised that a Russian rocket, fueled by hydrazine, will be launched on Friday, Oct. 13 and will result in falling debris over open waters between Ellesmere Island and Greenland.

In a press statement on Oct. 11, the government says it is expected that the debris will fall outside of Canadian territorial waters and “considered a very low risk event.”

Although it is very unlikely, that wreckage will fall on land, “there will be a coordinated effort to notify the public and recover the debris.” The GN is monitoring the situation.

In an Oct. 6 report in Nunatsiaq Online, Nunavut Premier Peter Taptuna is reported to have demanded to tell Russia to keep its “toxic space junk out of Inuit marine waters.”

“We condemn Russia’s actions and demand that this launch be halted. We can’t afford to have unknown amounts of hydrazine fuel land in largest polynya in the northern hemisphere,” read a statement from Taptuna.

The rocket is an old, re-purposed Russian SS-19 intercontinental ballistic missile which will take a European Space Agency satellite into orbit, reads Nunatsiaq Online.

Hydrazine is extremely toxic and unstable. “These marine waters are in fact our source of food,” said Nancy Karetak-Lindell, the acting chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, said in a statement. The ICC had also condemned the rocket launch.

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