Russian court fines Nornickel $1.96 billion over massive Arctic fuel spill
A Russian arbitration court has recovered 146.2 billion rubles ($1.96) in damages from the Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company, a subsidiary of the industrial giant Nornickel, for its role in a massive fuel spill at a thermal power plant in Norilsk in May 2020.
The court’s ruling partially satisfies a claim from Russia’s regulatory agency for natural resources, Rosprirodnadzor, which assessed the environmental damage from the spill at 148 billion rubles ($1.98 billion).
Earlier, Rosprirodnadzor demanded that Nornickel pay voluntary compensation for the environmental damage from the accident, but the company challenged the official assessment. Nornickel argued that the damages should have been calculated at just 21.4 billion rubles ($287 million).
At the end of May 2020, approximately 21,000 tons of diesel fuel leaked out of a damaged reservoir at the Norilsk-Taimyr Energy Company’s Thermal Power Plant No. 3 in Norilsk, spreading into nearby rivers and the surrounding soil. This was the second largest fuel spill in Russia’s history, after the 94,000 ton oil spill that took place in the country’s northern Komi Republic in 1994.