last Annual General Meeting, the $7.7 billion Muskrat Falls Project was
sanctioned and the construction site is busy with contractors. There are no surprises to report, just yet,
the North Spur? What’s that, you may ask? That’s the natural feature which, together with
two new dams to be built by Nalcor, will constitute the “impoundment system” of
Muskrat Falls. Cabot Martin, the former
Senior Policy Advisor to several Premiers, has referred to it as the “weak link
in the Muskrat Falls Project”. Why? Because,
without the North Spur, there can be no Muskrat Falls.
problem? You can read Cabot Martin’s full
Report on “The North Spur Instability Problem” yourself. (I strongly suggest that you take the time to
do so. It is quite detailed and offers
highly compelling arguments for stopping this Project on geotechnical grounds,
alone.) In a nutshell, the “ground
conditions at the North Spur are very unstable as they include significant
amounts of glacio-marine clay (Quick Clay) that is highly prone to liquefaction
a direct quote: “liquefaction and failure”.
This Scribe wrote an Article on Mr. Martin’s Paper, in March of this
year, entitled, “Would You Build Your House On A River Of Mud?” Since then, he has updated the extensive tome
with additional historical and geotechnical evidence of the North Spur issue.
Muskrat Falls Project was sanctioned in December, 2012, Nalcor, as of March 1,
2013, according to Martin, “Nalcor had not conducted the geotechnical field
work and collected the data necessary to fully assess the North Spur
instability problem and design a suitable, cost effective solution.”
Engineers, SNC Lavalin, have now decided they want to build something called a “Cut-Off
Wall” to deal with the instability problem.
This is a “BIG NEW ITEM” for a Project, whose potential for cost overruns,
many warn, may do irreparable harm to this Province’s finances. Remember, in December, Nalcor informed us that
engineering on the Project was well advanced and that all the big cost items
and major materials were defined and given to the Government with such
certainty that their ‘contingency’ allowance, for the Project, was reduced from
the prior estimate.
for Muskrat Falls, CEO Ed Martin, will be facing the public, Wednesday, June 5th, at
Nalcor’s AGM. Nalcor downplayed the North
Spur problem when Cabot Martin brought it to light. Now, six months after Sanction,
and with SNC Lavalin forced to deal with the problem, it is time to ask the Nalcor
CEO if he will come clean on the ‘instability’ issue? In so doing, will he also:
us what the “Cut-Off Wall” actually is.
us a cost-estimate of the “Cut-Off Wall”.
if the cost figure for this “remediation” represents the entire cost of fixing the
North Spur Instability Problem.
us if the cost of the “Cut-Off Wall” was included in the Project Estimate, at
the time of Project sanction.
if the Federal Government’s “Independent Engineer” has signed-off on the North
Spur Remediation Program, and
public a ‘picture’ of the “Cut-Off Wall”; show us what it actually looks like.
question, in six easy parts. Now, that
can’t be too difficult, for the master propagandist. Can it?