The Massive Norilsk Fuel Spill Could Be Linked to Permafrost Thaw

Infrastructure built on permafrost needs to be better monitored, experts and officials say.

Photo: Camilla Andersen

A tank collapse that led to one of the largest ever oil spills in the Russian Arctic may have been caused in part by permafrost thaw, according to the company behind the spill.

Experts have long warned that unless precautionary steps are taken, such thaw could caused billions of dollars in damage to Arctic infrastructure.

The collapse of a holding tank in the Arctic industrial city of Norilsk spilled some 21,000 tons of diesel, much of which eventually flowed into two rivers and a lake, turning them bright red. The disaster prompted a state of emergency last week.

The power plant is a subsidiary owned by Nornickel, a major producer of palladium, nickel, platinum and copper. Nornickel has said the leak was the result of ground subsidence likely caused by thawing permafrost, as the pillars supporting the fuel tank sank into the softening soil. Read more at ArcticToday.

Categories: Freelance Articles

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