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State of emergecy called in Arctic after Russian fuel spill

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a virtual meeting near Moscow on the remedial action after the diesel fuel spill in Norilsk on June 19. A second spill in the Arctic Sunday caused officials there to call a state of emergency. Photo by Alexei Nikolsky/EPA-EFE
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a virtual meeting near Moscow on the remedial action after the diesel fuel spill in Norilsk on June 19. A second spill in the Arctic Sunday caused officials there to call a state of emergency. Photo by Alexei Nikolsky/EPA-EFE

July 13 (UPI) -- The Taimyr District administration declared a state of emergency in the Arctic's Tukhard settlement located in the country's Krasnoyarsk Region Monday after a pipeline lost pressure and released jet fuel into the environment.

The pipeline, owned by the Nornickel Company subsidiary Norilsktransgas, is used to transfer fuel to a tank. It lost pressure Sunday, causing the line to break.

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"According to updated information, a total of 55 cubic meters of fuel contaminated over 30 square meters of soil," the district said in a statement. "The fuel has also spread into two bodies of water connected by a stream."

Authorities said the spill was contained and prevented from spreading into the Bolshaya Kheta River with the use of seven lines of containment booms.

The company said 44.5 tons of fuel spilled for about 15 minutes. Nornickel, a mining company, said there was no threat to life or to the health of people in the area, but an internal investigation into what happened has started.

It was the second Russian fuel spill in the Arctic recently. Two weeks ago, 20,000 tons of diesel fuel spilled into a river at a power plant near Norilsk, a town just north of the Arctic Circle. In that case, four power plant employees were arrested on charges of violating environmental regulations.

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Norilsk's mayor was also charged with negligence. Sergey Dyachenko, the chief operating officer of Norilsk Nickel, blamed global warming for thawing permafrost beneath it for the spill.

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