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Russia oil spill: U.S. offers help in cleaning huge Arctic Circle fuel spill

This handout photograph taken and released by the Marine Rescue Service of Russia on June 3, 2020, shows a large diesel spill in the Ambarnaya River outside Norilsk. A fuel reservoir collapsed at a power plant near the city of Norilsk, located above the Arctic Circle, and leaked into a nearby river.

This handout photograph taken and released by the Marine Rescue Service of Russia on June 3, 2020, shows a large diesel spill in the Ambarnaya River outside Norilsk. A fuel reservoir collapsed at a power plant near the city of Norilsk, located above the Arctic Circle, and leaked into a nearby river.   | Photo Credit: AFP PHOTO / MARINE RESCUE SERVICE OF RUSSIA

The spill — deemed the worst ecological catastrophe of the sort to ever hit the region — Colorado remote tundra waterways with bright red patches visible from space.

The United States on Saturday offered to help Russia clean up a vast fuel spill that has fouled an Arctic river in northern Siberia.

“Saddened to hear about the fuel spill in Norilsk, Russia,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter. “Despite our disagreements, the United States stands ready to assist Russia to mitigate this environmental disaster and offer our technical expertise.”

On May 29, a diesel-fuel tank at a power plant belonging to the giant Norilsk Nickel mining group collapsed near the Siberian industrial city of Norilsk, sending some 15,000 tons of diesel into a nearby waterway and pouring an additional 6,000 tons onto surrounding land.

The spill — deemed the worst ecological catastrophe of the sort to ever hit the region — Colorado remote tundra waterways with bright red patches visible from space.

A photo made available on June 5, 2020 by the European Space Agency shows a satellite image captured on May 31 by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission of the extent of an oil spill after some 20, 000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into a river within the Arctic Circle. Environmentalists said the oil spill, which took place last May 29, was the worst such accident ever in the Arctic region.

A photo made available on June 5, 2020 by the European Space Agency shows a satellite image captured on May 31 by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission of the extent of an oil spill after some 20, 000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into a river within the Arctic Circle. Environmentalists said the oil spill, which took place last May 29, was the worst such accident ever in the Arctic region.   | Photo Credit: AFP PHOTO /EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY

President Vladimir Putin declared an emergency and said he expects the company to pay for the clean up, which could take years.

Clean up work however has been complicated by marshy ground amid a springtime thaw and the shallow depths of the nearby Ambarnaya River, which prevents boats from reaching the scene.

Russian officials said Friday that the spill was probably caused when long-frozen permafrost under the fuel tank melted and gave way, and ordered a review of infrastructure in vulnerable zones.

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 6:54:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/russia-oil-spill-us-offers-help-in-cleaning-huge-arctic-circle-fuel-spill/article31771114.ece

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