Fuel spill clean-up

NornickelPublic Joint Stock Company "Mining and Metallurgical Company "Norilsk Nickel” and its subsidiariesGo to the glossary has implemented a far-reaching programme to collect the fuel residue along riverbanks and decontaminate the soil following the spill. We take full responsibility for the consequences of the incident and are doing everything we can to rectify the situation.

On May 29, 2020 the fuel storage facility at Heat and Power plant No 3 (HPP-3) in the Kayerkan Neighbourhood of Norilsk failed due to sudden sinking of its support posts, resulting in the fuel leakage. According to preliminary investigations 21.2kt of diesel fuel leaked beyond the bunding perimeter into a designated pit, into nearby soil and into the Bezymianny Stream, and the Daldykan and Ambarnaya Rivers. Special containment bons were installed and effectively prevented the contamination of the Pyasino Lake. No one was hurt and the city of Norilsk was not harmed in any way.

Nornickel’s response

Nornickel informed local authorities and government agencies and started the response operation immediately on May 29th, 2020. On June 19th, the CompanyPublic Joint Stock Company "Mining and Metallurgical Company "Norilsk Nickel"Go to the glossary completed the main phase of the clean-up. As of the end of October 2020, Nornickel had completed the three main stages of the clean-up programme, with the spill now fully localized and the majority of the fuel and water mixture collected. Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade has been supporting the Company’s clean-up operation since the start of the accident.

More than 90% of leaked fuel was collected and contaminated soil removed

Contaminated soil was placed into sealed off hangars to prevent further environmental risks. Water-fuel mixture collected from the Ambarnaya River and near the power plant was placed into temporary holding tanks.

By the end of September 2020 at the Ambarnaya River

< 90% of leaked fuel was collected and contaminated soil was removed in a short period of time
< 35 km3 of water-fuel mixture collected
185 km of coastline and 361,720 sq m of contaminated surface have been treated with sorbents
< 40 km of temporary pipelines were laid from the Ambarnaya River to a temporary storage facility near the Lebyazhye tailings dam
700 people have been involved in the clean-up campaign, including teams from the Marine Rescue Service (from Murmansk), Russian oil and gas majors (Gazpromneft, Transneft) and Ministry of Emergency Situations
95 km of conventional containment booms and absorbing booms with total length of 14 km have been installed to prevent the contamination of Paysino Lake
500 equipment items were involved in the clean-up
RUB 12 bln has been spent by the Company on clean-up costs

Please find more details regarding the clean-up campaign

More details

What’s next?

Immediate Response to the Accident: Lauch of Industrial Safety Improvements

  • A complete revamp of risk assessments of Nornickel’s hazardous industrial facilities was launched in June 2020
  • Commissioned Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a specialist environmental consultancy, to conduct an independent investigation into the causes of the spill. ERM’s findings are expected to be published at the end of November 2020, and Nornickel will implement a comprehensive set of further initiatives to prevent such incidents in future
  • A detailed action plan to improve industrial safety at the Company’s facilities was developed and presented to Rostechnadzor
  • Additional RUB 100 bln of planned investment for repairs and upgrade of energy infrastructure at Nornickel’s facilities to improve industrial safety

Enhancing monitoring of the foundations to identify and reduce risks

  • Satellite monitoring of permafrost-based industrial structures — real-time control of supporting posts deformation and soil temperature
  • Design and roll-out of real time foundations monitoring system (in progress, by the-end of 2023)

Putting in place rigorous environmental restoration programmes

  • New monitoring programmes for water bodies and soil, with a rehabilitation plan for the contaminated land and river shores
  • Rehabilitation of the impacted soil, with landscaping of territory near HHP-3
  • Analysis of bio-resources at the Daldykan and Ambarnaya rivers
  • Reproduction of aquatic bio-resources, including the release of juvenile fish into water bodies to preserve rare fish species, and the construction of three fish breeding plants
  • Biodiversity conservation — a programme to preserve local rare species and their habitat
  • Cooperation with scientists — Nornickel and the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences have agreed to implement a joint long-term programme to decontaminate and restore the natural sites affected by the May 2020 fuel spill in Norilsk. They will also work together to develop rules for sustainable industrial activities in the Russian Arctic
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