biography of Dr. Stig Bernander reads like that of a ‘Rock’ Star except in
his case, he is better known for his work with clays rather than rocks, especially
“Quick Clay”. Some of this “sensitive”
material is present at the North Spur, the projection of land creating the
natural dam at Muskrat Falls. It is one
of the issues which threaten the viability of the project.
Bernander, you ask? Who is he and why
would you be interested? I will get to those questions in a moment. First, what
are “Quick Clays”?
are unique, sensitive glaciomarine clays.
The clay deposits occurred when sea water
levels were much higher. They are unstable clays. Their peculiar characteristics are known to cause landslides. When Quick Clay is subjected to sufficient stress, the material may liquefy. At Muskrat Falls, Quick Clay
could undermine the structural integrity of the North Spur. Remediation is potentially
a money pit. It is a public safety issue,
exciting as it is horrifying. If you choose to follow the Link, just be patient for the first couple of minutes
and the Rissa video will demonstrate why Quick Clay should be taken very seriously. It is
the perfect primer in advance of Dr. Bernander’s Lecture.
neither politician nor bureaucrat. He is a scientist; one with long industry
it is difficult for individuals not technically trained to get their heads
around the mechanics of landslides. But I have been assured Dr. Bernander can
discuss his subject as readily to a layperson as he can to Professional
Engineers and Geoscientists.
Dr. Stig Bernander and why is he lecturing in St. John’s? Who invited him? Why have members of the
public been invited?
me give you full disclosure. The
Bernander Lecture Group is headed by Cabot Martin and includes both singer, Con
O’Brien, and your Uncle Gnarley scribe.
Martin is well-known for his activism against Muskrat Falls. He has written a Book entitled “Muskrat
Madness” which gives particular emphasis to the issue of “Quick Clay” at the
Bernander’s time is offered pro bono. The Bernander Lecture Group has raised
money from private individuals, including the 2041 Group, to pay the cost of travel,
for the LSPU Hall and for other expenses.
a recognized international expert.
|Dr. Stig Bernander
civil engineering and became Head the Design Department of Sanska, one of the world’s
leading project development and construction groups. After a 40 year
distinguished career, he started his own consulting company. He has been
engaged in major civil engineering works such as bridges, dams, harbors,
tunnels, dry docks, off-shore structures (including North Sea Gravity Base Structures),
buildings, underground storages and water supply structures. He has worked diverse countries including Sweden, Denmark,
Norway, Poland, Monaco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, India, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
1980 – 1998, Stig Bernander served as an Adjunct Professor at the Division of Structural
Engineering at Luleå University of Technology, Sweden.
of his Bio is critically important:
large landslide in Tuve, Sweden in 1977, he began developing an engineering model
for slope stability analysis on ‘sensitive’ clays.
software for the model during the 1980s and, in 2000, summarized his findings
in a PhD thesis at Luleå University. An
unpublished Paper by a Professional Engineer familiar with Bernander writes:
“the thesis conveys his experiences of slide modeling focusing on the nature of
triggering agents and the different phases that a slope may undergo before its
stability becomes truly critical.”
Bernander is 86. He is still lecturing.
Cabot Martin’s work, his
chance encounter with Dr. Bernander, and a wider public concern over the issue of
“Quick Clay”, the Lecture Group had an opportunity to invite
the “guru” himself; the very scientist whose studies constitute the most
up-to-date work in this field. So, how
could we not invite him?
point deserves mention.
Bernander’s visit occurs on the heels of a Hearing by the Public Utilities
Board at which Nalcor challenged the Grand River Keeper’s right to ask questions about its investigation and
proposed remediation of the Quick Clay problem at the North Spur. Grand River Keepers is a Labrador Environmental Group. The PUB has taken the step of allowing
several of their questions to stand. You
will be hearing more about Quick Clay in the coming months.
ask why Nalcor would attempt to deny public inquiry and discussion of a controversial
technical issue; one with implications
for the safety of the residents of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Mud Lake? Why all the secrecy over what is an important scientific issue?
Bernander will not answer those issues. These
are matters we must resolve ourselves, as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.
I suggest we ought not to be deferential to leadership structures, whether
Nalcor or the Government. We should
never be afraid to challenge their decisions or require disclosure. Your
Government simply owes you that much.
of Quick Clay, what better way to engage in that process than to hear an
Engineer who has spent two careers, one in large scale construction design and consulting and another
as an academic studying precisely that problem; a person whose research is respected
world-wide and who is willing to share that expertise.
Lecture will be held on Thursday, October 30th at the LSPU Hall,
need to hurry to reserve yours.