On 29th May 2020, a spill of an estimated 20k tons of diesel fuel occurred at a thermal power plant in Norilsk, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Russian Federation, in the Arctic Circle. The spill is believed to have resulted from ground subsidence due to permafrost melting. It has reportedly contaminated an area of 350 sq km, with 15k tons out of 20k leaking into the nearby Ambarnaya river.
The plant is owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel. On 3rd June 2020, the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, declared the state of emergency.
Rescuers and equipment have been mobilized for response. The situation appears to now be under control and clean-up efforts are ongoing.
UNEP is in contact with EMERCOM, WWF, WHO and UNIC and is following up with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Marine Rescue Service. No request for assistance has been received. Discussions are ongoing at the country level on technical guidance and assessments of the environmental impact of the spill. The UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit is on standby for support as needed.