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Cost rises delay construction of mobile Antarctic research station

CONSTRUCTION OF Britain's innovative Halley VI mobile Antarctic research station is expected to start 12 months late, with the client battling to keep a lid on cost increases.

Client British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and contractor Morrison are reworking plans but are not expected to finalise them until the summer.

'We are investigating means of making the scheme affordable with a view to working on the design in the spring and being in a position to re-tender by June, ' said a Morrison spokesman.

'We are negotiating and modifying designs, ' said a BAS spokeswoman.

Originally budgeted at £19M ($32.3M), Halley VI will be a crucial base on the Antarctic Brunt Ice Self for investigating global warming.

A prototype of the Faber Maunsell-designed research facility was due for testing in Scandinavia early this year.

The review means that this will not be able to take place until next winter, putting back the timetable for shipping the research station to the Antarctic until summer 2007.

The station is designed to be moveable and must be built during two one-month Antarctic weather windows.

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