Investigators probe reported Russian tundra pollution

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia’s main criminal investigation body launched a probe after a report that a nickel-processing plant was pumping water contaminated with heavy metals into the Arctic tundra.

The reported pollution detailed yesterday by the Novaya Gazeta newspaper was in the same region where a massive spill of diesel fuel last month entered Lake Pyasino, which feeds a branch of the Arctic Sea.

The newspaper released a video of what it said was water from a Norilsk Nickel enrichment plant gushing out of a pipe and into a river that also runs into the lake. The Investigative Committee branch for the region said it sent investigators.

Norilsk Nickel, one of Russia’s biggest companies, also owns the power plant from which some 21,000 tonnes of diesel fuel leaked in May when a storage reservoir collapsed, possibly due to melting permafrost.

Both facilities are north of the Arctic Circle, 2,900 kilometres northeast of Moscow, the Russian capital.

Workers prepare an area for reservoirs for soil contaminated with fuel at an oil spill outside Norilsk, 2,900 kilometres northeast of Moscow, Russia. PHOTO: AP