By The Siberian Times reporter
02 June 2020
Fear that thawing permafrost caused damage to storage tank.
A state of emergency was introduced in Norilsk, Russia’s nickel capital, after almost 20,000 tons of diesel burst out of a reserve fuel tank at the TPP-3 industrial site.
The fuel was stored there to ensure continuous supply to the power plant in case of an interruption in gas supplies.
The leak was on 29 May in the Kayerkan district of Norilsk, and the pictures show its dramatic impact.
The exact reason of the leak is yet to be established, but a statement from Norilsk Nickel company, which operates the site suggests it could have been caused – worryingly – by collapsing permafrost.
‘Due to sudden subsidence of supports which served for more than 30 years without problems, the diesel fuel storage tank was damaged, resulting in a fuel leak’, said a statement from Norilsk Nickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and Russia’s leading nickel mining and smelting company.
A car driving outside the storage depot caught fire due to contact with leaked fuel, prompting initial reports about the vehicle had crashed into it, causing a fire and leak.
Marine rescuers from Murmansk were flown into Norilsk to help mitigate consequences of the ecological catastrophe.
Diesel leaked into the 60km long Ambarnaya River which flows into Lake Pyasino.
The Pyasina River outflows this lake into the Kara Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean.
State of emergency in Norilsk after 20,000 tons of diesel leaks into Arctic river system. Video from a local residents shows the extent of pollution as he dips a piece of newspaper into a mixture of river water and fuel, and sets it on fire. Pictures: Norilsk Nickel, Svetlana Radionova.