Despite the fact that Russian President Vladimir Putin had declared a state of emergency after the accident and despite the efforts made in the last few days to contain the leak, diesel fuel has reached Lake Pyasino. At the moment, the loss of diesel is confined to the lake, which has a basin of over 700 square kilometers and which is mainly frozen from October to June, but the concern of the authorities is that with the arrival of the heat, diesel can reach the Pyasino river. and get to the Arctic Ocean. Alexander Uss, governor of Krasnoyarsk, said authorities are currently doing everything possible to contain the leak in the lake and prevent diesel fuel from reaching the Pyasina river, an eventuality that would cause an environmental disaster.
Already now, however, the environmental damage caused by the loss is enormous, despite the removal of around 23,000 cubic meters of polluted soil. According to Greenpeace environmentalists, it will take dozens of years to remedy the effects that the loss of diesel fuel has had on river waters, on animals that drink that water and on plants that grow in the area. Greenpeace likened the incident to that in 1989 in the Prince William Strait, Alaska, when an ExxonMobil-owned oil tanker ran aground on a cliff and dispersed 40.9 million liters of oil into the sea.
The accident occurred due to the collapse of the pillars that supported a diesel tank, and according to Sergei Dyachenko, director of operations of Norilsk Nickel, the cause would not be attributable to the company but to the anomalous global warming. The whole area was in fact built on permafrost, the perennially frozen ground that distinguishes Siberia and other areas of Northern Europe and North America and which due to rising temperatures, would have melted.
In the meantime, an investigation has been launched to investigate the causes of the accident and three managers of the plant, including director Pavel Smirnov, have been arrested: according to investigators, major repairs to the plant should have been carried out in 2018, but the executives did nothing and continued to make it work while knowing the possible risks.