According to data published over the last few days by the EFE agency, some 20,000 tons of crude oil have been dumped in the Ambárnaya River (Russia), causing one of the most important environmental impacts of recent decades in this Arctic region. The magnitude of the accident has led Vladimir Putin’s government to declare a state of emergency.

It seems that the cause of the spill was an accident that occurred on May 29th at the thermoelectric power plant in the Russian city of Norilsk. According to the refinery company (Nornickel), the thawing of the permafrost soil caused damage to the diesel storage tank, which led to the collapse of the tank and the subsequent spillage of the fuel into the river.

Nornickel estimates that the spill could be completely removed from the river waters within 10 to 14 days, although other voices within the Russian government doubt that complete removal of the oil is possible.

In recent days, several space agencies (including the Russian and European ones) have published several images of the evolution of the spill, which has already extended some 12 kilometers from the site of the accident.

The complicated thing right now is to define an action plan to know what treatment to give to the hydrocarbons that are being pumped out. According to data from the Russian Ministry of Emergency, more than 100 tonnes of fuel and contaminated soil have already been collected in Norilsk.

Moreover, the investigation that is trying to determine the cause of the spill seems to reflect that the foundations of the power plant’s tank cracked when the permafrost on which it was built thawed.

In view of this, Putin has ordered an investigation and audit of all the infrastructures that may present similar problems as a consequence of global warming.

 

 

 

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