Government Authorises Barrier Enhancements Near Grindavík Skip to content

Government Authorises Barrier Enhancements Near Grindavík

By Ragnar Tómas

Reykjanes peninsula
Photo: Golli / excavator near the Svartsengi Power Plant .

The Minister of Justice has authorised raising and strengthening protective barriers around Grindavík to prevent damage from natural disasters related to volcanic activity. The total projected cost of these enhancements is nearly ISK 7 billion [$50 million/€47 million], including recent additions and reinforcements near the Svartsengi power station.

Raising and strengthening barriers

The Minister of Justice Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir recently authorised the National Commissioner of the Police to begin work on raising and strengthening protective barriers around the town of Grindavík on the Reykjanes peninsula. As noted in an announcement on the government’s website, the aim is to “prevent damage to critical infrastructure and other structures of public interests from natural disasters associated with the volcanic systems on the Reykjanes Peninsula.”

Lava breaches protective barrier

As previously reported on IR, lava breached the protective barrier near the Svartsengi power station, not far from Grindavík, on June 18. Firefighters responded by using water from fire trucks to halt the lava flow. They also experimented with cooling machinery but encountered issues relating to water pressure.

The announcement goes on to note that lava cooling has now been applied at four locations in Svartsengi, and according to the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management, “significant lessons have been learned from the lava cooling operations, and the initial objectives were achieved.” Given this recent breach of lava, the Justice Minister believes that it is important to continue raising the protective barriers.

Total projected costs ca. ISK 7 billion

As noted on the government’s website, the National Commissioner of Police recommended to the Minister of Justice in early June that the barriers at Svartsengi be raised as soon as possible. Following this recommendation, the Minister of Justice decided to enhance the barrier. The estimated additional cost is around ISK 300 million [$2.2 million/€2 million].

Read More: Wall of Fire (On the Construction of Lava Barriers Near Svartsengi)

According to information from the National Commissioner of Police, the total cost of the construction was initially estimated at around ISK 6 billion [$43 million/€40 million] but is now projected to be nearly ISK 7 billion [$50 million/€47 million] with all the additions.

“This cost includes the aforementioned raises and reinforcements, the inner barrier near the power plant, and various adjustments due to road connections and environmental considerations at the project’s completion.”

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