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  1. #1
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    May 2020
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    Thawing the permafrost ground to blame for the Norilsk disaster

    The fact that 20,000 liters of diesel leaked in the Siberian Norilsk are less due to human error than to the fact that - as everywhere in the Arctic - the permafrost is thawing, with the result that many constructions are shaken - according to DW editor Andrey Gurkov in a comment for Deutsche Welle. But “hardly anyone in Russia wants to hear that,” writes Gurkov.

    The official announcement on the Nornickel website: “On May 29th, 2020 an incident occurred in the Kayerkan district of Norilsk: the diesel fuel storage tank was damaged due to the sudden drop of supports that had served without problems for more than 30 years resulted in a fuel leak. On the morning of May 30th, Nornickel collected and pumped over 100 tons of fuel in the adjacent area, replacing the contaminated soil and treating the surface with binding agents. All contaminated soil has been removed for temporary storage on a property with a waterproof coating to prevent the release of petroleum products into the environment. In the near future, the collected petroleum products are to be disposed of. "

    Not a word about permafrost. After all, the supports had “served without problems for more than 30 years”. No explanation as to why her service suddenly ended. Gurkov calls it, however, “a disaster of national scope” - which explains that President Putin immediately invited to a conference. Gurkov continues: “The basic problem with this catastrophe has a completely different dimension: something happened that on the one hand has a very specific Siberian connection, but on the other hand represents a very serious global problem. We are dealing here with the devastating consequences of the thawing of permafrost as a result of global warming. Because it wasn't an 'ordinary' leak from which the diesel poured into the tundra. At the conference with Putin, the Russian Minister for Civil Protection announced that According to preliminary knowledge, the cause of the leak is the sagging of the stilts in the foundation of the tank farm. This is a clear indication that the permafrost under these stilts had thawed, which literally shook the statics. But this aspect was not discussed any further by either the president or the other participants. "

    In all of Siberia, half of Russia's land area, the permafrost soils thaw deeper than before in the unusually warm summers (incidentally also in Canada and Alaska). This not only releases extremely climate-damaging methane - the pictures of the burning lakes can be seen again and again in the reports - but many of the structures built on pillars rammed into the frozen ground sag. So does the nornickel tank. In Russia, they talk about climate change but avoid the word “man-made”. Gurkov: “People still don't want to know about human complicity in global warming [in] Russia, which owes its relative prosperity mainly to the fossil fuels oil, natural gas, and coal.” Read more at https://www.sonnenseite.com/de/umwel...k-katastrophe/


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