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Russia declares state of emergency after massive oil spill in the Arctic Circle

By | Rachel Brooks

Staff | Telegraph Local 

See | The New African Living Standard

Above, France 24 broadcast shows Norilsk, Siberia oil spill from aerial view.

Russia has declared a state of emergency after a massive oil spill in the Arctic Circle. This was reported by the BBC within the last few hours. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into an Arctic Circle River. The spill occurred when a fuel tank at a power plant in Norilsk, Siberia collapsed last Friday. In the wake of the spill, the power plant’s director Vyacheslav Starostin was taken into custody until July 31. He has not yet been charged. 

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In the meantime, The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a criminal case over pollution and negligence. There was a reported two-day delay in informing Moscow. President Putin was angered when he learned that his officials were not informed of the spill until Sunday. 

CNBC reports that the company  where the oil leaked from is a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel. Norilsk Nickel is the world’s leading producer of palladium and nickel. CNBC states that the leak occurred on May 29. 

In a discussion with the Kremlin, President Putin stated that the spill occurred in the Ambarnaya River. 

“The accident took place at the industrial site of the Nadezhdinski Metallurgical Plant, and part of the spilled petrochemicals, a considerable amount actually, seeped into the Ambarnaya River,” said Putin, as he was quoted by CNBC. 

CNBC states that Putin has questioned the procedure of the cleanup process. The fuel leak occurred near the city of Norilsk in the Krasnoyarsk region. 

Norilsk Nickel released a statement that described the circumstances of the accident. 

“The accident was caused by a sudden sinking of supporting posts in the basement of the storage tank,” said the statement. The statement also noted that emergency teams “immediately arrived to the site to start clean up works,” said the statement, in English, as quoted by CNBC. 

The company statement also made a note that an emergency situation has also been declared for the city of Norilsk in the Taymir region. 

“A regional emergency situation has been declared in the city of Norilsk and Taymir region. An emergency response team has been set up chaired by the city mayor of Norilsk. “In total, Norilsk Nickel has mobilized 250 personnel and 72 equipment items to work on the liquidation. As of June 3, a total of 262 tons of diesel fuel has been collected near HHP-3 (the power plant), a total of 800 cubic meters of contaminated soil has been removed and approximately 80 tons of fuel has been collected from the spill to Ambarnaya river,” said the Norilsk Nickel company, as further quoted by CNBC. 

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Al Jazeera also reported the pollution risk to the greater Norilsk region waterways. Al Jazeera reports that Putin believes the local authorities have been “inefficient” in dealing with the crisis. However, it has not been reported what impact this incident has had on the public health and safety of the people of greater Norilsk. 

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