MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian nickel-palladium giant Norilsk Nickel announced that it has finished pumping and separating the water-fuel mixture collected from the water area of the Arctic river after a diesel leak, and the first data says that less got into the water than previously thought and estimated by the environmental regulator …
At the end of May, about 21,000 tons of oil products flowed from the cracked reservoir at the Norilsk Nickel power plant (MCX: GMKN) into the Arctic rivers and soil in Taimyr. The authorities believed that 15,000 tons got into the water, another 6,000 tons – into the ground.
The accident was the largest environmental disaster in the Russian Arctic over the past 25 years and, according to environmentalists, is comparable to the oil spill due to the crash of the Exxon Valdez tanker in 1989 near Alaska.
Norilsk Nickel believes that the rescuers managed to collect about 12,000 tons, or over 90%, that is, almost everything that got into the water, said the chief operating officer, first vice president of the company Sergei Dyachenko on Friday.
“Everything that we have collected and separated today, this can be considered the fuel that fell into the water surface”
“We believe that we have collected (from water) over 90%, much more …” – he said.
This is well below the publicly quoted environmental authorities' estimates of 15,000 tonnes released into the water.
The company previously said that it was able to collect about 90% of the spilled oil products from the water area, which some environmentalists called an “overly optimistic” estimate.
According to Dyachenko, Rosprirodnadzor, which estimated the damage to the environment at almost $ 2 billion (147.8 billion rubles), believed that about 19,000 tons fell into the rivers.
Norilsk Nickel still disagrees with the methodology for assessing the damage and called the Rosprironadzor's claim for compensation unexpected.
Dyachenko said that the company has never refused to settle damage issues out of court, suggesting to wait until the completion of the separation and examination.
Norilsk Nickel does not disclose its damage estimates.
The representative of Rosprirodnadzor declined to comment on Norilsk Nickel's position.
“Our calculations were made according to the current methodology and submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources and the government,” she said.
Rosprirodnadzor, which had previously offered the company to voluntarily pay the damage estimated at an unprecedented amount for Russia, filed a lawsuit against Norilsk Nickel's subsidiary for compensation for the harm caused to nature. The company called this a premature step as an examination of the collected fuel had not been completed.
(Anastasia Lyrchikova. Editor Gleb Stolyarov)