'Landsvirkjun' Tag Archive

Jan 14 2006
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Saving Iceland Interview with Björk

bjork The interview was conducted at the time of the Stop the dams! gig in January 2006. Björk is an internationally acclaimed musician and has often spoken out against the heavy industry policy of the Icelandic government. Björk will be joining the international protest camp near Kárahnjúkar this year.

Josie Demuth: What, for you, makes Icelandic nature so special that you want to stop it’s destruction and participate in this concert?

Björk: It is the largest untouched area in Europe and I feel it is not only my duty to speak out as an Icelander but as a European. The situation has reached a cross roads, Iceland’s economy which was 70 per cent fish went down, so what instead? The attention went from the sea to the land. Fifteen years ago they stopped building a dam in the 1970s because people spoke out and there were artistic protests. But now in 2005 there is this industrial revolution and this way of thinking to sacrifice nature for progress. They are not long term benefits and we can do so much more with nature. We can work with nature, for example, hotels have been put up all over Iceland, and there are tourist centres to tell tourists about the nature. We will not be able to rewind this natural destruction and as I’ve travelled I’ve begun to realise that this is not a modern way of thinking. 50 years ago were independent but what are we gonna do in 100 years now? We are not making progress with this. Read More

Dec 19 2005
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Nov 10 2005

Aluminity – The New Religion – It´s Official!!

hangover?“It’s just as if they wanted to ban a religion”
.Icelandic government faces difficult criticism from Left-Greens over heavy-industry policy.

Yesterday MP’s of the Left Green Party criticised severely the government’s aluminium policy, saying that Stalin himself couldn’t have done better in creating a mass-production industrial hell and likened Landsvirkjun, the National Power Company, to the Fenrir of Iceland (Fenrir, in Norse mythology, is a gigantic and terrible wolf that according to a prophecy will be responsible for the destruction of the earth).

In his reply the Prime Minister, Mr. Asgrimsson, implied that opposing the destruction of nature for multinational aluminium corporations amounted to “wanting to ban a religion”.

Mr. Ásgrímsson’s answer may explain why most MP’s and ministers don’t listen to scientists’ and other professionals’ warnings and ignore the outcries of people who are losing their jobs and companies which are going bankrupt as a result of the unhealthy expansion of the small Icelandic economy, directly caused by the gargantuan Kárahnjúkar project.

But now we know, it’s a question of faith!

Oct 25 2005

Fight Against ALCAN Taken to Scotland

25 October 2005

Five people locked together using lock-on tubes blocking the only access road and denying entry to vehicles supplying equipment essential in the infrastructure and operation of the ALCAN smelter at Fort William, Scotland. The blockade started at the beginning of the morning shift change and lasted for almost five hours.


ALCAN scotland 

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Oct 06 2005

Supreme Court Rules Alcoa Smelter is Illegal

Iceland Review

Supreme Court invalidates environmental assessment of Alcoa smelter.

Perfect factory site?Site of the illegal smelter


Yesterday the Supreme Court of Iceland invalidated the decision of the Minister of the Environment to waive the requirement for Alcoa to undergo an environmental assessment before obtaining a license to operate the smelter currently under construction at Reyðarfjörður on the East Coast. Read More

Sep 28 2005

Environmental Facts and Figures of the Kárahnjúkar Project

From The Icelandic Society for the Protection of Birds

The building of a gigantic hydropower station has started on the northern edge of Europe’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull in Iceland. The power station is needed for the provision of 770 Megawatts for an aluminium smelter being planned by Alcoa in Eastern Iceland, with a capacity of 370,000 metric tons per year. In order for this power capacity to be delivered, one of Iceland’s largest glacial rivers will have to be diverted into another large glacial river, and huge reservoirs will be required in order to maintain the power capacity required throughout the year. The facts and figures of this planned massive intervention in this unspoilt wilderness area are as follows:

• Reservoirs: the largest (Hálslón) will flood 57 square km of land, and a further smaller reservoirs will submerge another 10 square km.

• Dams: the biggest one, in the canyon at Kárahnjúkar, will be 190m high and 770m long; 3 medium-sized dams are collectively 32m high and 1000m long. Additional smaller dams will be built.

•The water will be diverted to the turbines through a 70 km long tunnel/gallery.

• The 150 km long glacial river, Jökulsá á Dal, which has carved out for itself one of the deepest and most attractive canyons in Europe (Dimmugljúfur Canyon, 15 km long – 200 m deep), will be converted to an insignificant stream.

•The diversion of the waters into another glacial river will result in immense changes to the Lagarfljót glacial river (140 km long). Its natural drainage will have to be artificially enlarged and the huge estuary delta will have to be reconstructed.

• Altogether, 3,000 square km or 3% of Icelands total landmass will be affected by this irreversible intervention in the environment. The area affected, where the natural environment and habitats will be destroyed, extends from the edge of the Vatnajökull Glacier to the estuary of the Héraðsflói glacial river.

• A total of 40 square km of land now covered with vegetation will be submerged forever. Soil erosion in the central highlands is one of the greatest environmental problems Iceland has to cope with. It must be feared that the planned reservoirs, where the deposits carried by the glacial rivers will end up (some 10 million metric tons per year), poses an erosion danger when the water level in the reservoirs sink. Yearly water level fluctations of the Hálslón reservoir are 75 m and up to 3/4 of the reservoir will be exposed to wind erosion. This will occur in /winter and spring, when the water reserves will be drawn on. This is the time of year for the wildest storms and even more vegetation will be threatened and covered by the masses of sand and dust carried by violent winds. The effected area of soil erosion will be up to 400 square km.

• A unique former geothermal region with plant fossils will be flooded.

• Flora and fauna: The affected area is one of the few regions in Iceland where the soil and vegetation are still more or less intact. Opponents of the project point out that the project would have unforeseeable consequences for the water table.

• This part of Iceland is home to 1500-2000 reindeer (Rangifer tarrandus) whose summer pastures would be flooded. The total population of reindeer in Iceland is around 4000 animals.

• Some 400-600 female harbour seals (Phoca vitulina vitulina) breed every year on the Jökulsá á Dal delta. By redirecting the river the colony (3-4% of the Icelandic population) would be destroyed.

• The Kárahnjúkar project would affect two IBA’s (BirdLife – Important Bird Areas). Among the bird species whose existence is threatened or would be affected by the changes which the project would bring are:

• Red-throated Diver (Gavia stellata) – 220 pairs
• Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) – 3800 pairs affected
570 nests would be flooded by the Hálslón reservoir and 2200 pairs would in immediate danger.
9-13.000 moulting geese in the Eyjabakkar IBA will be directly affected by the project.
• Greylag Goose (Anser anser) – 2000 breeding pairs, 10.000 moulting birds affected
• Pintail (Anas acuta) – 100 pairs; 20% of the total Icelandic population

• Shoveler (Anas clypeata) – 5 pairs, one of the rarest Icelandic duck species
• Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) – 27 pairs
• Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) – 1000-2000 pairs
• Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) – over 700 pairs
• Great Skua (Stercorarius skua) – 265 pairs, 5% of the total population
• Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parasiticus) – some 1300 breeding pairs (possibly the world’s largest breeding colony in Úthérað IBA)

Icelandic Society for the Protection of Birds
P.O. Box 5069 • 125 Reykjavík, Iceland • Tel: 562 0477 • Fax: 551 6413
 fuglavernd at fuglavernd.is

ISPB (Icelandic Society for the Protection of Birds) in English

Sep 20 2005

Images – 2005 Protest Camp at Kárahnjúkar, Skriðdalur and Reykjavík

Alcoa graedir

Sep 17 2005

Archaeological Ruins Discovered at Kárahnjúkar – Landsvirkjun Orders: “Destroy anything within the Hálslón basin.”

Saving Iceland

Ruins of three houses from the 10th and 11th centuries have been discovered at the archaeological excavation site at Háls by Kárahnjúkar. Three houses are underneath a layer of ash from the Hekla eruption of 1104.


A discovery that revolutionizes our
understanding of the Sagas

Same site a few days later

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Sep 17 2005

Reindeer Revenge on Barclays


On Tuesday the 17/09/2005 the Students Union of the University of Sussex held their annual freshers fair, where new students are given freebies that no-one needs in exchange for custom. During this event, about 6 students dressed in reindeer-like costumes merrily surrounded the Barclaycard stall. Read More

Sep 05 2005

Direct Action Floods Iceland by T. Troughton

Corporate Watch
Newsletter 25


Direct action against the Karahnjukar hydro-electric dam project in Iceland has started in earnest. The dam will devastate Western Europe’s last pristine wilderness, solely to power an Alcoa aluminium smelter (see Corporate Watch number 23, April May 2005, page 9)

In June, three activists invaded the 10th World Aluminium Conference, Reykjavik, covering speakers from Alcoa and Bechtel (who are building the smelter) in green yoghurt during their talk on ‘sustainable’ aluminium. All three were charged with causing up to £50,000 of damage. British activist Paul Gill was held for four days. With the construction of the dam now more than half complete, an international protest camp has been set up near to the site. Over 30 people have gathered to organise direct action against the continuing devastation of global ecology in the interest of corporate profits. The 19th July saw Iceland’s first ever lock on blockade, when 25 activists shut down the site for three hours, locking on to a Caterpillar construction vehicle and a pick up truck at the main junction in the site and blocking two other access roads. Fifteen were arrested and later released without charge. Impreglio, the Italian construction firm building the dam, threatened to take civil charges against the activists but has since backtracked. Experts concur that 90% of the irreversible environmental damage will be done only when the water floods the land, so its not too late to protect Iceland’s ecology, and with Smyril Line offering a round trip on the ferry for £49 from Shetland, what better place is there to spend the rest of your summer?


Iceland was under attack. Violent international protestors were arriving on its shores, fresh from the G8 and bent on futher destruction. The Icelandic police were calling for the urgent tightening of border controls. Laws had just been passed allowing foreigners to have their phones tapped, their houses searched, and their possessions confiscated, all without warrants. News presenters were emitting warning gouts of Icelandic, spattered with the word ‘Anarkisti!’, alongside blown-up images of figures in IRA balaclavas. There was muttered talk, on all sides, of terrorism. Read More