News & Analysis

Norilsk Nickel to create permafrost monitoring system

Russia’s Norilsk Nickel, a major global nickel and palladium producer, plans to design its own system for monitoring permafrost, buildings and structures, the company has said.

In June, a state of emergency was declared in Norilsk, one of the world’s most northerly cities, as a result of permafrost thawing. Several tons of diesel fuel leaked from a fuel tank at the Thermal Power Plant of Norilsk Energy Company No. 3 and spilled into the neighbouring Daldykan and Ambarnaya rivers

According to Norilsk Nickel, “a modern system for monitoring permafrost soils, equipped with advanced diagnostic methods, is being created. The deadline is 2021”.

During a telephone conference for journalists on Thursday, Norilsk Nickel’s Operations Director Sergei Dyachenko noted that there is currently no ready-made system for such monitoring, so estimating its cost is still difficult.

He added that the company intends to use its own resources and, if necessary, the capabilities of Russian scientific organisations when implementing the project. It does not plan to involve foreign experts at the current stage.

In addition, Norilsk Nickel has already developed a programme of urgent measures for 2020-2021 to increase the level of security and strengthen protective structures around hazardous facilities. For these purposes, it is planned to spend about 2.5 billion rubles (35 million US dollars) in 2020 and – about 11 billion rubles (141 million dollars) next year.

Also, an ethnological examination began last week assessing the damage to indigenous peoples of the north from the fuel spill in Norilsk. The commission includes representatives of the Federal Agency for Ethnic Affairs, scientists from Moscow State University, the Northern (Arctic) Federal University, the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the Miklukho-Maklai Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology.

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