This past week a committee of the EU discussed and voted on the arctic with its opening up in the near future. One issue was petrol pollution; it centered around banning heavy marine oils that if there were a spill would be particularly difficult to clean- especially given the frigid waters. Also of a concern was the advancement and re-opening of Russian military bases in the north. In fact, a number of mothballed bases from the cold war era are being revamped- similar to our Adak, Galena, and other cold war bases.
The other concern was Russian exploration. The Russians have 40+icebreakers, of which three are nuclear powered – and there are three more that are on the building docks. With the northern route open now seasonally (along the Russian northern coast to Scandinavia) the northwest route of Canada would still be left alone for about another dozen years before shipping and exploration becomes a viable travel path.
More debates are bound to come in the nuclear realm as EU nations de-invest in nuclear power and the Russians continue with remote applications such as nuclear oil drilling platforms.