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24 Dec, 2020 17:32

20,000-ton Norilsk Arctic diesel spill disaster is worst in ‘the history of mankind,’ Russian government official reveals

20,000-ton Norilsk Arctic diesel spill disaster is worst in ‘the history of mankind,’ Russian government official reveals

This summer’s oil spill in the Arctic Russian city of Norilsk has broken the record for the largest of all time, according to Alexander Chupriyan, the country’s first deputy minister of emergency situations.

“In the history of mankind, such a quantity of liquid diesel fuel has never leaked out,” he said, noting that the disaster taught his ministry that it needs equipment that not only pumps “salty and polluted water, but also oil products.”

On May 29, one of the diesel fuel storage tanks at a power plant in Norilsk was damaged, subsequently leading to more than 20,000 tons of oil spilling into the water and soil. Norilsk is around 3,000km northeast of Moscow, and the world’s second-biggest city inside the Arctic Circle. The contaminated area is around 180,000 square meters, with the oil products being detected in Lake Pyasino, a large freshwater lake frozen for the majority of the year.

Also on rt.com Criminal case opened against Norilsk mayor following massive Siberian oil spill that threatens Arctic Ocean

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, it will take at least 10 years to restore the damaged environment, estimating the cost at around 148 billion rubles ($2 billion). The plant owner, Norilsk Nickel, has disputed this amount, claiming it is about seven times less.

In June, shortly after the spill, Norilsk Mayor Rinat Akhmetchin became the subject of a criminal investigation over accusations of negligence and “non-fulfillment of his official duties during an emergency.” 

Also on rt.com Prosecutors probe major fuel spill in Russia as Arctic incident becomes federal-level emergency

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