As part of the audit in the fall of 2017, the department revealed violations in the operation of two tanks with a capacity of 20 thousand cubic meters. m each (they can fit approximately 17 thousand tons of diesel). Back in 2014, LLC “Safety in Industry” conducted an examination of the tanks and ordered NTEC to repair them. By the fall of 2015, the company was supposed to clean the outer surface of the walls and roof of the tanks from rust and restore the anticorrosion coating, and by October 2016 – conduct non-destructive inspection of the bottom. None of this was done, the Rostekhnadzor inspector stated in the report.
Corrosion is one of the main reasons for the failure of tanks for oil and oil products, experts at St. Petersburg Mining University noted. The most vulnerable element of the tank is the bottom, which is constantly in contact with water saturated with chemically active elements. It was through holes in the bottoms, caused by the formation of ulcerative corrosion, that caused the largest disasters, experts pointed out.
Most of the equipment at the diesel fuel storage site dates back to 1979-1980, and the employees of the TPP-3 do not conduct an industrial safety review, so “there is no further safe operation period,” Rostekhnadzor specialists said in 2017. The remark concerned breathing and safety valves (controlling pressure) on three tanks with oil products, equipment of a pumping station (diesel fuel drain pumps, foam extinguishing systems), equipment of the chemical workshop of emergency facilities at TPP-3.
Roskosmos published pictures of the fuel spill site in Norilsk
During an inspection in 2018, Rostekhnadzor found that the walls and roof were damaged in the buildings where the valves of tank No. 2 are located, and the wall fence shifted in the building with the valves of tank No. 3: these defects lead to corrosion of pipelines and valves. The service has repeatedly pointed out these violations in 2016-2018, the report said.
The department also considered NTEC’s action plan to rectify the case as not meeting the requirements: the document was not signed, it did not contain “the composition and deployment of forces and assets, emergency warehouses, vehicles involved in the liquidation of the accident, and rescue equipment”.
Rostechnadzor also conducted inspections in 2019–2020, but no longer reported new violations and did not indicate whether previously identified problems had been resolved. RBC sent a request to the press service of Rostekhnadzor.
What they say in Norilsk Nickel
In 2017, Rostekhnadzor indicated a violation of the monitoring of the condition of the bottoms in tanks No. 2 and No. 3, but on May 29, 2020, tank No. 5 collapsed, a representative of Norilsk Nickel told RBC. According to him, NTEC maintains all capacities in good condition.
The IC opened a case of negligence due to the speed of reporting on emergencies in Norilsk
According to the Norilsk Nickel and the authorities of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the accident occurred due to weather conditions. May 29, “suddenly” sank the foundation and supports of one of the tanks and “the bottom came off” from it. “The supports have served for over 30 years without complaints,” the Norilsk Nickel press service said. The company used the tanks carefully, and the supports could sag due to thawing of frozen soil as a result of abnormally high temperatures, said Sergey Dyachenko, First Vice President of Norilsk Nickel.
The consequences of a fuel spill in Norilsk. Photoreport