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Second Great Norilsk Expedition’s experts to make ‘digital copies’ of studied areas

The expedition will have three stages, the main objectives will be to study water and soil surfaces, sediments, flora and fauna, and perennially frozen grounds

TASS, June 23. The Second Great Norilsk Expedition of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Siberian Branch will be working in summer. The experts will make ‘digital copies’ of studied areas and waters, the Academy of Sciences said on Tuesday.

In 2020, the Siberian Branch for the first time over recent years sent to the Taimyr Peninsula at the invitation of Nornickel a big scientific expedition for large-scale studies of the territory to analyze environmental consequences from the fuel spill at the Norilsk power plant. During the second expedition, scientists will make ‘digital copies’ of studied areas and waters, the Ecology research center’s Director Nikolai Yurkevich said.

"We plan to have a dynamic geographic information system model of the hydro network, and hydrology and morphology-metrical models of the landscapes," the release quoted the scientist as saying. The model will be used to analyze potential stability and hazards of exogenic processes as well as to see possible sources of on-surface pollutants for a certain area.

During the summer, scientists will mostly focus on assessing contamination dynamics. "We plan to repeat the routes of previous year along the rivers Daldykan, Ambarnaya, Pyasina, Lake Pyasino and the background areas. We see certain risks of re-contamination due to washing of remaining fuel off the soils by the high waters: we take into consideration this moment when planning measurements and sampling," he said.

The summer-21 field teams will feature similar specialists, like a year earlier, from 14 research institutions, based in Norilsk, Yakutsk, Irkutsk, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Barnaul. The expedition will have three stages. The main objectives will be to study water and soil surfaces, sediments, flora and fauna, and perennially frozen grounds.

"At the first stage we will focus on hydrocarbons in spring waters. Later on, we shall study soils and sediments before Nornickel begins revegetation as planned. The third stage would be to analyze its effectiveness and assess remaining risks - this will happen in autumn already," the scientist added.

Accident on Taimyr

The fuel spill happened in May, 2020, when a tank unsealed, and 20,000 tonnes of fuel flowed out. The Krasnoyarsk Region’s Arbitration Court partially satisfied a claim by the Federal Service for Supervision of Natural Resource Usage (Rosprirodnadzor) and a fine of 146 billion rubles ($2 billion). Nornickel has settled the fine.