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Brasilia (AFP) Feb 29, 2012
Brazil will need as long as two years to rebuild its Antarctic navy base destroyed by a deadly fire, a government official said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the government is considering partnering with other countries with Antarctic bases to continue research projects, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Marco Antonio Raupp in an interview with Brazil's O Globo television channel.
The fire Saturday in an engine room killed two sailors and injured a third as they tried to extinguish the flames.
Malfunctioning electrical generators are suspected in the blaze but it remains under investigation.
Scientists working under the Brazilian Antarctic Program use the navy base to study global warming, as well as coastal and marine ecosystems.
The weekend fire destroyed 70 percent of the Comandante Ferraz base, which was established in 1984 in Admiralty Bay, King George Island, near the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Brazil can "explore possibilities of partnerships with other countries that do research there, that also have bases there," Raupp said.
About 30 countries operate Antarctic stations.
Brazilian sailors were able to save isolated emergency modules, weather and chemical laboratories, fuel tanks and the helicopter landing pad, according to an official analysis.
Beyond the Ice Age
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