Construction has started on a barrier to protect the power plant in Svartsengi from the possible consequences of a volcanic eruption. Work on the protective barrier is being carried out in accordance with a decision by Minister of Justice Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir, which is based on an authorisation in the Act on the Protection of Critical Infrastructures in the Reykjanes Peninsula. The decision was made yesterday following statutory consultation and a recommendation from the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police.
The power plant in Svartsengi supplies around 30,000 people with heat and electricity and its protection is of the utmost importance.
The bill from Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir on the Protection of Critical Infrastructures in the Reykjavik Peninsula was passed into law in Althingi shortly before midnight on Monday. The objective of the Act is to protect critical infrastructures and other items of public interest in the Reykjanes peninsula against the possible consequences of a volcanic eruption.
The Act authorises the minister in charge of civil protection, following a recommendation from the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, to make decisions regarding necessary construction work to be made in the interest of civil protection with the aim to prevent damage to critical infrastructures and other items of public interest by natural hazards relating to the volcanic systems in the Reykjanes peninsula.
Necessary construction is defined as the building of protective barriers, protective embankments over utility structures and the digging of channel trenches. Before a decision on necessary construction is made, land owners, the municipality where the construction is planned, ministers in charge of planning, nature conservation and state finances as well as designated key institutions in these fields shall be given an opportunity to present their views.