Friday, 26 February, 2021


Vladimir Putin Declares State Of Emergency After Large Siberian Fuel Spill

A cleanup effort at the site of a diesel fuel spill at Norilsk's Combined Heat and Power Plant No 3. On May 29 a diesel fuel reservoir at the power plant collapsed and nearly 21 thousand cubic meters of fuel spilled into a river Vladimir Putin Declares State Of Emergency After Large Siberian Fuel Spill
Kristine Garrett | 05 June, 2020, 13:20

The Siberian city of Norilsk, in Russian Federation, and its surrounding area, encountered a surprising phenomenon this week after a fuel tank at a power plant leaked 20,000 tons of oil into rivers, turning it bright red. The Ambarnaya river, into which the oil has been discharged, is part of a network that flows into the environmentally sensitive Arctic Ocean.

According to Russian state media, the spill has contaminated 350 square kilometres of land. The region is about 3,000 kilometers (about 1,860 miles) northeast of Moscow.

How did the leak happen?

Dmitry Streletskiy, a professor at George Washington University, told Bloomberg, "The cause is yet to be determined and is likely a combination of both climate change and infrastructure-related factors". A second tank at the power plant, which is apparently "cracked", is now being emptied as a precaution.

Norilsk Nickel has said that it is doing everything possible to clear up the spill, which is affecting the river Ambarnaya, and that specialists have been flown in from Moscow to aid the effort to stop the spread of the fuel.

Norilsk Nickel said in a statement that NTEK had reported what happened in a "timely and proper" manner.

The power plant is operated by a division of Norilsk Nickel, whose factories in the area have made Norilsk one of the most heavily polluted places on Earth.

What has Russian Federation done so far?

Alexander Uss, governor of the Krasnoyarsk region, a massive Siberian territory that includes Norilsk, told Putin in a televised video call on Wednesday that he had only discovered the seriousness of the situation when local people posted videos on social media. Putin, who appeared irate, ordered a probe into the incident.

"Containment booms set up near the mouth of the Ambarka River are helping to prevent the oil from spreading".

So far, three criminal proceedings have been launched, and the head of the power plant has been detained, the TASS report said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a state of emergency, allowing extra forces to enter the region for the clean-up operation.

What is the extent of the damage?

The volume of the spill is vastly larger than the 2007 Kerch spill, which involved 5,000 tonne of oil, Knizhnikov said.

As if 2020 could not get any more worse than it already is, we now may have an environmental disaster to confront, alongside ongoing protests in Hong Kong and America, as well as the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Officials blamed the delay in reacting to the leak on the local authorities' failure to inform them of the scale of the incident. Its estimate does not include atmospheric damage due to greenhouse gases and soil pollution.

"The installed buoys will only help collect a small part of the pollution, leading us to say that almost all the diesel fuel will remain in the environment", Chuprov said in a statement.

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