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Kremlin says Norilsk fuel spill to have no effect on Russia’s plans to develop Arctic

The plans are still ambitious, the Kremlin spokesman said

MOSCOW, June 8. /TASS/. The fuel spill at a thermal power plant in Norilsk in the Krasnoyarsk Region will have no effect on Russia’s large-scale plans for developing the Arctic, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Monday.

"I don’t think this will affect these plans. The plans are still ambitious and the development of the Arctic is necessary for developing our economy and the social sphere," the Kremlin spokesman said, responding to a question about how the Norilsk accident might affect the projects for developing Arctic territories.

The plans for developing the Arctic regions are large, the Kremlin spokesman stressed. "Of course, they will continue to be implemented but with the strictest observance of all environmental and technological standards and rules," Peskov said.

Responding to a question about whether Putin planned to raise the issue of carrying out a mandatory inventory of all potentially hazardous industrial assets in the country, the Kremlin spokesman said that the country’s industrial safety watchdog Rostekhnadzor was planning to do this work.

"It is not the president who is planning this. If I understand correctly, it is Rostekhnadzor that has these plans, about which corresponding statements have been made," Peskov said.

"Of course, after such a large-scale situation, after such an accident, additional control measures will be required," the Kremlin spokesman said.

Norilsk fuel spill

Over 21,000 cubic meters of petroleum products spilled at the Thermal Power Plant No. 3 of the Norilsk and Taimyr Energy Company (part of the metals giant Norilsk Nickel) on May 29 after the concrete foundation of a fuel storage tank sank, causing the fuel facility’s collapse. The fuel spilled into the ground on an area of 180,000 square meters and also in local rivers, contaminating the territory and causing damage to the environment.

The cleanup personnel of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry have collected almost 17,000 cubic meters of the contaminated soil and the fuel-water mixture on the accident site to date, the ministry’s press office told TASS.

The cleanup workers are conducting works on two sites: at the Thermal Power Plant No. 3 where the accident occurred and on the water area. As Russia’s Emergencies Ministry specified, the cleanup personnel have collected 1,076 cubic meters of the water-fuel mixture from the water area, which exceeds the amount collected a day before.

Overall, Russia’s state emergencies warning and cleanup system has involved 495 workers and 222 pieces of equipment in the relief effort. The cleanup personnel are working round-the-clock.