Uncle Gnarley Blog has obtained photographs (shown at the end of this introduction) of Nalcor’s Muskrat Falls Integrated Cover System (referred to as
the “Dome”) reduced to loads of junk steel. The building is being taken down again. The photos are shocking
they represent an enormous
waste of public money.

Muskrat Falls was an unwise project for many reasons. One of those was Nalcor’s lack of expertise to carry out such a large and complex project.

We can’t always show you a picture of incompetence or
arrogance but, this time, we have come pretty close.

The Dome under construction at Muskrat Falls

We don’t know Nalcor’s final cost for the “Dome”. But we do know it was never finished. To the originally proposed $120 million (the final cost may have been
higher) you can now add the cost of dismantling and removal.

Now, the
Dome is being cut up for scrap readied to be sent off for re-cycling.
Fully constructed, the Dome’s dimensions are 551-feet-long, 262-feet-wide and 164-feet-high. 
People who have seen the “Module Hall” at Bull Arm will get a sense of the enormous size of this Building. The Module Hall, by comparison, is 492 feet long and also 164 feet high.
allows us to do construction work during the cold months here in Labrador. It
gets quite cold here during the winter,” Nalcor’s man told reporters, mid-September
2014 as they toured the construction site.  Undoubtedly, they were impressed by this 
climatic revelation.
boasted that
the structure “would require 3,800 tonnes of structural steel…”

By itself, this
is a most inadequate description
of what this Building entails.
It was
intended to be temporary
structure…though not this temporary.
This was a Building
that required a great deal of design work and specifications which provided for
all weather loads, internal heavy lift cranes, lighting systems, heating
systems, access points, and a lot more.
All the
steel was fabricated, and transported to site. 
Concrete foundations were prepared in advance.  The internal cranes were ordered
long before Building erection started; the lighting and heating
systems, too.
Now, think
about the labour to put the Building up and to take it down…not to mention all
the mobile cranes and other equipment needed to put up such a huge structure.
And, we know
what productivity is like on site and the cost of labour.  There the costs of the camps and all the fly-in
and fly-out costs.
Added to those are the costs of management for the subcontractor, for Astaldi, for SNC, and for Nalcor.
Notwithstanding all those costs, consider that the actual amount of work, especially the amount
of concrete placed in the winter of 2014-2015, was next to nothing.  The costs were incurred because most of the crews
would have been on site; other services, like maintenance of the concrete
batch plant, would represent a huge amount of additional money spent (wasted).
So the
“real cost” of the enclosure was not only the $120 million (plus) Nalcor
spent on the structure.
The “real
cost” includes all of the construction costs plus the cost of delay to the project, and the cost of the effort to “try” to bring the project back on schedule.
Likely, the
public will never be told the true cost of the Building let alone the full
cost of the entire fiasco and especially the delays to the project.
Muskrat Falls is a sad as much as it is a crazy narrative. In time, Nalcor and the politicians will be held to account for an array of bad decisions. Unfortunately, the public purse will, first,  have to get even more bare.

The dome is just one part of this story of incompetence.
We have photographic proof of that. 

I have provided no captions. The photographers informed me that all the pictures were taken in the same lay-down area located in a forested area outside Goose Bay. Here they are:

Isn’t it time we had a proper review and accounting of the Muskrat Falls project?

Des Sullivan
Des Sullivan
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada Uncle Gnarley is hosted by Des Sullivan, of St. John's. He is a businessman engaged over three decades in real estate management and development companies and in retail. He is currently a Director of Dorset Investments Limited and Donovan Holdings Limited. During his early career he served as Executive Assistant to Premier's Frank D. Moores (1975-1979) and Brian Peckford (1979-1985). He also served as a Part-Time Board Member on the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (C-NLOPB). Uncle Gnarley appears on the masthead representing serious and unambiguous positions on NL politics and public policy. Uncle Gnarley is a fiscal conservative possessing distinctly liberal values and a non-partisan persusasion. Those values and opinions underlie this writer's views on NL's politics, economy and society. Uncle Gnarley publishes Monday mornings and more often when events warrant.


Bill left public life shortly after the signing of the Atlantic Accord and became a member of the Court of Appeal until his retirement in 2003. During his time on the court he was involved in a number of successful appeals which overturned wrongful convictions, for which he was recognized by Innocence Canada. Bill had a special place in his heart for the underdog.

Churchill Falls Explainer (Coles Notes version)

If CFLCo is required to maximize its profit, then CFLCo should sell its electricity to the highest bidder(s) on the most advantageous terms available.


This is the most important set of negotiations we have engaged in since the Atlantic Accord and Hibernia. Despite being a small jurisdiction we proved to be smart and nimble enough to negotiate good deals on both. They have stood the test of time and have resulted in billions of dollars in royalties and created an industry which represents over a quarter of our economy. Will we prove to be smart and nimble enough to do the same with the Upper Churchill?


  1. The time is here to have a Muskrat Falls intervention! $120 million on the "Production Dome" is what they wasted at the very least, while Paul Davis passes over 35% of budget 2015 to Nalcor! We are fools to allow this to continue! Many warned not to sanction Muskrat Falls and were scoffed at as naysayers who fear progress.Those cries were disregarded as $135 oil would pay for all.

    There is still time to stop the madness of Muskrat Falls and save future generations of Newfoundlanders the misery of paying off billions of much needed resources on this needless project that has the sole purpose of securing a legacy for Danny Williams.

    Given the magnitude of this fiasco, he certainly has secured a unique place for himself in the future. A legacy he did not count on, but should have!

  2. It is time for Nalcor to come clean on this topic. It is also time for the CBC person in Happy Valley Goose Bay to do some journalism. It can not be difficult to get to the truth. But Nalcor need to come clean.

    When will someone loose their job at Nalcor? That some one should be Gilbert Bennett. He is responsible for this. The biggest problem with Nalcor was nepotism. They hired people "known to Ed" through his days with Petro-Canada and Suncor, or "known to Danny" to run this project. Look at the org charts. There is an alarming lack of experience in heavy civill projects in the senior Nalcor team running a 7 Billion dollar project. Incredible really.

    At least they could have used the steel to build a greenhouse. It could have been powered by the excess electricity. Instead of giving the power to NS for pittance, we could have least secured our food supply, and provided some long term jobs to HVGB. The dome would have made the structure of a lovely greenhouse. Imagine fresh tomatoes and lettuce in the middle of winter, powered by Upper Churchill recall power.

    Remember all the talk about front end loading the engineering to reduce risk on the project?

  3. So, all it takes is that I have to know Gilbert Bennett and I can get a job at Muskrat Falls. I thought that was the case therefore I will never work there as I have no connection…my only contribution to this project would be qualifications and experience. Darn! I'm so out of luck…

  4. Do the people of NFLD & Lab NS, NB know that all purcurements of everything has to be purchased through a Government of Quebec office?
    My friend of mine stayed at my house here in Dartmouth 3 weeks ago and was working on a huge quote for lighting and enclosures and then he was told that he can not quote as he is from NB and that it has to be through the Quebec office that has been set up by the Quebec Government.

    Imagine again they have us Hog tied..

  5. …but Nalcor is… not… carrying out the construction of the muskrat falls project….that's why they hired Astaldi, and various other contractors and sub- contractors.. because they are not in the business of building dams. As far as the dome goes, perhaps it was a gamble, an attempt to provide temporary shelter, to gain a few extra weeks of construction, in an environment that has such a short period in which to build. I would wait until we find out all the details of how much this tiny part of the project cost…I believe there is a law suit involved, and It would be wise to wait and see the result before we start to condemn all involved. I guess there will always be the Des Sullivans out there…those who wait in the wings to pounce on any, and every detail re. the project. In the end though…the project will built, and it will provide the province with much needed electricity…it will provide us with a connection to the mainland grid, and it will provide us with an opportunity to sell power…When they built the Bay D'Espoir project the Des Sullivans were there…but they had no outlet other than to write to the paper…now of course they have a blog…LOL…in the end though the result will be the same…the Project will be built….and the Des Sullivans will fade into obscurity…

    • Another shill for NALCOR and the provincial government?

      Mr. Sullivan is justifiably concerned about the nefarious practices employed by the government and NALCOR to bring this project to sanction and only a blind follower of a corrupt regime would support this project at this juncture. Some of us warned the province about it back when it was not fashionable to do so…now, any reasonably-minded person can see that it was an ill-conceived scheme or worse…a plan to enrich the few at the expense of the many.

    • If you're right, and this project is completed as sold to the public, there is still the issue of opaqueness and misdirection demonstrated by Nalcor. If you do away with the Des Sullivan's of the world you would end up in a province where the government is even less accountable for public spending.

  6. I am tired with the MF supporters drawing analogies to Bay D'Espoir. Bay D'Espoir was 1/6th the cost on a unit rate basis, and adjusted for inflation. The cost was not recovered on a back loaded, 50 year take or pay contract. If they were, and the costs were comparable to MF on a unit rate basis, then people would be pissed with Bay D'Espoir as well.

    Peoples frustration boil over in 2018 when their electricity bills go up 50%.

  7. I was told the dome was taken down because they forgot to vent it. Who builds a 120 million dollar dome and forgets proper ventilation? Someone who was working on the dome specifically told me that..and we wonder where all our money is going….

  8. thanks for reporting what CBC, NTV and VOCM don't have the balls to do, Danny Williams gave Dave Cochrane and a lacing back a few years ago, and since that time, little or no investigative reporting on Government. Danny is gone on to greener pastures, $300/Acres, and we are left with the bills. Time for Premier Ed Martin, and the rest of this Government of a few to be gone.

  9. I am wondering if this was a useless contract, not going to add anything or going anywhere, that was injected into the Muskrat Falls Contract for some party to make $120 Million dollars and probably more if the contractor gets to sell the scrapped steel? From what I read on those large contracts it is easy enough to include anything, especially given the fact that the real owners of this project, the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador, are not able to peruse this contract for accuracy. After all Bill 29 was enacted to make sure the citizens of NL would never see the light of day on what was included in this Contract. We all know when the Foxes are guarding the Henhouse, the Foxes always Win! I feel we are Shafted again for another 100 years with our fellow Newfoundlanders and Labracorians being debt ridden, perpetrated on us by those we put so much faith into as the electorate. It is a Sad State of Affairs, indeed!

  10. Yup the building was torn down before it was completed and it now sits in jim Lewis yard just outside goose bay and get this jim Lewis is one of the big shots with astaldi and helped convince nalcor to spring for this building. Now it's in his possession and he's selling it off for his personal gain