Russian nickel producer admits pollution in Arctic tundra

  • In this handout frame taken from video released Sunday June 28, 2020, by Novaya Gazeta, showing what the report is water from a Norilsk Nickel enrichment plant gushing out of a pipe and into a river which also runs into the lake near Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia. Russia's main criminal investigation body has launched a probe after a report that a nickel-processing plant was pumping water contaminated with heavy metals into the Arctic tundra.  (Elena Kostyuchenko, Novaya Gazeta via AP)

    In this handout frame taken from video released Sunday June 28, 2020, by Novaya Gazeta, showing what the report is water from a Norilsk Nickel enrichment plant gushing out of a pipe and into a river which also runs into the lake near Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia. Russia's main criminal investigation body has launched a probe after a report that a nickel-processing plant was pumping water contaminated with heavy metals into the Arctic tundra. (Elena Kostyuchenko, Novaya Gazeta via AP) Associated Press

  • In this photo released Sunday June 28, 2020, by Novaya Gazeta, showing what the report is an excavator disassembling a pipe from a Norilsk Nickel enrichment plant with water gushing into a river which also runs into the lake near Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia. Russia's main criminal investigation body has launched a probe after a report that a nickel-processing plant was pumping water contaminated with heavy metals into the Arctic tundra.  (Elena Kostyuchenko, Novaya Gazeta via AP)

    In this photo released Sunday June 28, 2020, by Novaya Gazeta, showing what the report is an excavator disassembling a pipe from a Norilsk Nickel enrichment plant with water gushing into a river which also runs into the lake near Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia. Russia's main criminal investigation body has launched a probe after a report that a nickel-processing plant was pumping water contaminated with heavy metals into the Arctic tundra. (Elena Kostyuchenko, Novaya Gazeta via AP) Associated Press

  • FILE - In this handout file photo dated Tuesday, June 2, 2020, provided by the Russian Marine Rescue Service, rescuers work to prevent the spread from an oil spill outside Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia.  Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday June 19, 2020, has ordered his government to fully repair environmental damage from a massive fuel leak in the Arctic. A power plant in the Siberian city of Norilsk leaked 20,000 tons of diesel fuel into the ecologically fragile region when a storage tank collapsed on May 29. (Russian Marine Rescue Service via AP, File)

    FILE - In this handout file photo dated Tuesday, June 2, 2020, provided by the Russian Marine Rescue Service, rescuers work to prevent the spread from an oil spill outside Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday June 19, 2020, has ordered his government to fully repair environmental damage from a massive fuel leak in the Arctic. A power plant in the Siberian city of Norilsk leaked 20,000 tons of diesel fuel into the ecologically fragile region when a storage tank collapsed on May 29. (Russian Marine Rescue Service via AP, File) Associated Press

  • In this Thursday, June 18, 2020, handout photo provided by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, workers prepare an area for reservoirs for soil contaminated with fuel at an oil spill outside Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to fully repair environmental damage from a massive fuel leak in the Arctic. A power plant in the Siberian city of Norilsk leaked 20,000 tons of diesel fuel into the ecologically fragile region when a storage tank collapsed on May 29. (Russian Emergency Situations Ministry via AP)

    In this Thursday, June 18, 2020, handout photo provided by the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, workers prepare an area for reservoirs for soil contaminated with fuel at an oil spill outside Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to fully repair environmental damage from a massive fuel leak in the Arctic. A power plant in the Siberian city of Norilsk leaked 20,000 tons of diesel fuel into the ecologically fragile region when a storage tank collapsed on May 29. (Russian Emergency Situations Ministry via AP) Associated Press

  • This handout photo provided by Vasiliy Ryabinin shows oil storage tanks outside Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 29, 2020. Russian authorities have charged Vyacheslav Starostin, the director of an Arctic power plant that leaked 20,000 tons of diesel fuel into the ecologically fragile region on May 29, 2020, with violating environmental regulations.  An investigation is ongoing into the alleged crime, that could bring five years in prison if Starostin is found guilty. (Vasiliy Ryabinin via AP)

    This handout photo provided by Vasiliy Ryabinin shows oil storage tanks outside Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 29, 2020. Russian authorities have charged Vyacheslav Starostin, the director of an Arctic power plant that leaked 20,000 tons of diesel fuel into the ecologically fragile region on May 29, 2020, with violating environmental regulations. An investigation is ongoing into the alleged crime, that could bring five years in prison if Starostin is found guilty. (Vasiliy Ryabinin via AP) Associated Press

  • This handout photo provided by Vasiliy Ryabinin shows oil spill outside Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 29, 2020. Russian authorities have charged Vyacheslav Starostin, the director of an Arctic power plant that leaked 20,000 tons of diesel fuel into the ecologically fragile region on May 29, 2020, with violating environmental regulations.  An investigation is ongoing Monday JUne 8, 2020, into the alleged crime, that could bring five years in prison if Starostin is found guilty. (Vasiliy Ryabinin via AP)

    This handout photo provided by Vasiliy Ryabinin shows oil spill outside Norilsk, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 29, 2020. Russian authorities have charged Vyacheslav Starostin, the director of an Arctic power plant that leaked 20,000 tons of diesel fuel into the ecologically fragile region on May 29, 2020, with violating environmental regulations. An investigation is ongoing Monday JUne 8, 2020, into the alleged crime, that could bring five years in prison if Starostin is found guilty. (Vasiliy Ryabinin via AP) Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/28/2020 8:07 PM

MOSCOW -- A Russian metallurgical company said Sunday that it improperly pumped wastewater into the Arctic tundra and that it has suspended the responsible employees.

The statement from Nornickel is the second time in a month the company has been connected to pollution in the ecologically delicate region.

 

In May, around 21,000 tons of diesel fuel leaked after a reservoir at a Nornickel-operated power plant collapsed; some of the fuel entered a lake that feeds into an arm of the Arctic Sea.

The statement came hours after the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported that water tainted with heavy metals from the tailings at a nickel-processing plant were being pumped into a river.

Nornickel said the water was improperly pumped because of an overflowing sump; it said the water was 'œclarified' and there is no threat of waste leakage.

Both facilities are near Norilsk, north of the Arctic Circle, 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) northeast of Moscow.

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This story has been corrected to show that the name of the company is Nornickel, not Norilsk Nickel.

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Follow all AP stories about pollution and climate change at https://apnews.com/Climate

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