Guest Post by Cabot Martin

My recent Uncle Gnarley posts have dealt with Emera and Civil Deceit (May 15)
and the risk of catastrophic failure of the hillside above
the North Spur (September 28)
They are all connected; all part of the grand scheme.
That September 28th post more or less described the time bomb
that Nalcor has constructed at the North Spur.
Today I’d like to go back to look at some of the design steps
that got them there.
For background, the keeners amongst you can check out a long
but well illustrated powerpoint on the North Spur issue on my muskratinfowebsite – 
Please restrain yourself until you are through reading this
present much shorter Uncle Gnarley piece. 

The real keeners can also afterwards move on to an even longer
powerpoint on the same site at

And the true fanatics should definitely check out my report on
Dr Bernander’s North Spur field trip –
Now that’s a scary one – especially if you remember the Rissa Slide video from my last post. On the trip by foot, boat and helicopter, we saw
Quick Clay and Quick Clay landslides up and down the Lower Churchill Valley –
all over the place in fact.
Dr Bernander was amazed – most “active” ground he has seen
anywhere except for Saudi sand hills in a rare violent rainstorm.
The helicopter shots of the 2010 Edwards Island Quick Clay
Slide alone will, I assure you, rock your socks (see slides 79 to 87)  –
yes it’s long but hang on, it’s only pictures for God’s sake.
Slow down and smell the putrid carcass that is Muskrat – lest
it be us.
So there, I’ve plugged everything except my spring 2014 book
“Muskrat Madness” – still available for a pittance at Afterwords Bookstore on
Duckworth Street.
But all that is for the keeners – back to the Coles Notes.
Best place to start for these purposes is back in the spring
of 2011.
Nalcor was under heavy duty fire from the Geological Survey of
Canada (GSC) which had been picked by the Federal Provincial Joint Review Panel
as their prime geotechnical advisers.
The GSC peppered Nalcor with a series of focused written
questions requiring written answers about Nalcor’s inadequate geotechnical
information and lack of real review of North Spur geology in particular.
Had lots of questions Nalcor wouldn’t or couldn’t answer.
In apparent exasperation, on March 9, 2011, the GSC gave an
impressive presentation at a Federal Provincial Joint Review Panel public
hearing in Happy Valley/Goose Bay.
They pointed out a lot of technical gaps and their worries in
vivid detail. Said Nalcor’s work was inadequate. Even gave the Rissa
presentation in point form.
Word was Ottawa grew “concerned”; the reaction in the
Confederation Building  must have absolutely smoked and Danny – well you
know Danny.
And the Nalcor reaction?
“What me worry?” was the battle cry. What could possibly turn
up that great big globs of ratepayers/taxpayers money could not fix?
On with the party. Get her started.
Within the month, the chastened GSC was saying that Nalcor’s
bland reassurances were fine with them; true there were those unanswered
questions but what the hell – in fact everything was fine. The lion had
regressed to pussy cat.
Now one of Nalcor’s key assurances to the GSC was that they
would be doing this super-duper North Spur geotechnical program and they were
confident that everything would turn out fine.
Behind the scenes Nalcor was trying to get the Provincial
Government to sanction the Muskrat Falls project by June of 2012 – before the
promised North Spur geotechnical program was to be conducted in the summer of
But something went wrong – someone must have said – Hang on we
are not ready to sanction; we have to put sanction off till at least the Fall –
and it was.
And suddenly, the wonderful Nalcor geotechnical program
promised to the GSC and to the Joint Review Panel for the summer of 2012 was
moved to the summer of 2013 – which of course turned out to be after sanction
in December 2012.
And surprise, surprise, after even the decidedly inadequate
2013 summer geotechnical program , it was found that the sanctioned
“stabilization” plan, touted as safe at sanction, would not work because the
North Spur would still be too unstable.
No sir, we need to do more Nalcor said– but don’t worry – this
time we’ll get it right – if we just add a couple of cut-off walls everything
will be ok – and the party can go on.
The fact that they then had and still have a very inadequate
number of core holes and resulting data on the Spur – didn’t matter.
The fact that there are many square kilometers of Quick Clay
infested area upslope from the Spur where Nalcor does not have a single drill
hole – didn’t matter.
The fact that every summer the Department of Highways has to
clean out the slumping clay from the Trans Labrador Highway ditches up above
the North Spur — didn’t matter — even though as one highway worker said –
“Sure this whole hill side is moving.”
The fact that they have torn up and shifted vast amounts of
ground without any apparent concern that they are setting up an Oso slide
situation – didn’t matter.
All that mattered, and still matters, is that the party must
go on.
Ah yes – a Big Scheme is made up of many smaller schemes – and
this has been one of them.
Of course, all this goes to show how complex the Judicial
Inquiry’s work will be.
And that it must include answering the question — Were proper
geo-technical, engineering and project management procedures followed on the
North Spur?
Yes, the Judicial Inquiry will be busy, busy, busy.  
PS:  Just one more thing – 
In my last post I used the deadly 2014 Oso slide in Washington
State to demonstrate how a two stage slide initiated upslope from the North
Spur could set in motion a Downhill Progressive Slide that would literally wipe
out the North Spur and bury the existing construction site.
This sort of event is apart from a breach in the North Spur
first (say from increased hydraulic pressure from raised water levels). Such an
event would itself bring down the unstable upslope area.
This is a case where the small may well begat the big — just
like those few loads of fill from a barn basement triggered the 1978 Rissa
slide in Norway.
Nalcor has been shifting sand, gravel and clay around upslope
from the North Spur like there was no tomorrow.
Here are a few recent photos of one of their hillside workings
along the North Spur access road.

 It is plain if you blow up the photos that this particular
part of the slope is literally ripping itself apart – in the last photo the
fissures in the foreground extend intermittently all the way to the top of the

This ordinary looking hillside could be an Oso type trigger if
it lets go.
Of course, the contractors and workers are beavering away and
don’t look at it that way. 
Is this blindness some sort of socio-political fatalism that
nothing can change? 
Does anyone really put any faith in Nalcor’s mantra (included
in instructions to the so-called Independent Engineer) that Progressive
Downhill Landslides like the ones Dr. Bernander worries so much about simply do
not – cannot- exist in the Churchill River Valley. 
After a detailed examination by helicopter, Dr Bernander said
the 2010 Edwards Island Quick Clay slide upriver was a “classic” example of a
Downhill Progressive Landslide – but what would he know, he is just the world’s
leading expert in the field.
Is this failure to own up to the North Spur problem just
another part of our general Muskrat fever?
If so, what could shake us out of it – what could be our “The
Emperor has no clothes” moment? 
Maybe when the Inquiry brings out more and more areas of
defect – like when we all notice that all of Nalcor’s Dam Break studies for
Muskrat are for summertime conditions only; river ice is not taken into
That’s right – like Downhill Progressive Landslides, Nalcor
doesn’t believe in river ice — & what it can do downstream once in motion —
Poor Happy Valley/Goose Bay and Mud Lake. 
Poor all of us. 


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. Cabot, You have unflagging confidence that the judicial inquiry will effectively investigate the flawed geotechnical analysis (or the "agents" that facilitated the contracts, etc.) How will a competent analysis take place if you ignore the setting of the terms of reference? It is time for political ACTION Cabot, even if that puts you in the line of fire.

    Watching the JRP presentation by GSC was terrifying. They cpuld barely conceal their alarm as they outlined the risk and showed slides of past massive progressive slides upstream. They were the least restrained bureaucrats giving evidence (among a sea of provincial hacks unable to mutter the words "significant environmental impact").

    It saddens me, but I am not surprised they were backed off by the dark forces post JRP. Being prophetic about this unfolding disaster is not enough. It is time for aggressive political action to STOP MUSKRAT MADNESS! Are you up for it or will you too whimper in the darkness, like the whipped NL civil servants?

  2. Does anyone know if "insurance" will kick in if the North Spur fails?? Perhaps they now know and are biding time until the Spur in fact does fail and "insurance" will "kick in" and all will be "rosey".
    Just a morbid thought but hey! everything with this boondoggle is morbid.

    • Doubt it. Government is self insured – the cost of insuring their assets would be so high that it is more cost effective to take a loss now and then on the chin. The only way there is insurance in the MF infrastructure is if it was a requirement of the loan guarantee.

  3. As the song goes "seems you have been reading my mail" Cabot.
    Last night I finished the Mud Lake Flood Report. I had views on about 80 percent of the issues, some 23 points that I had emailed to Jamie Snook , Goose Bay mayor after the flood (who made no comment, except to acknowledge receipt, after several requests).
    But the report covered a few more items.
    In summary , I believe the report parroted the Nalcor view that the fault was everywhere except Nalcor. Much opinion and too little good engineering analysis, especially as to the imprudence of holding the reservior level at 21.5 meters.
    But my takeaway also was that this damage was from not very abnormal conditions, with a mere ice jam, from whatever cause,(likely opening the gates at the spillway as the root cause) backing up water downstream, even damage back at goose Bay area.
    Water levels rose just a few meters and caused such damage.
    I had read that it is estimated that a failure of the North Spur could cause 60 million in damage at Goose Bay town. I wondered yesterday if this was considered for a failure when the river was ice free?
    If during winter, I imagine a wall of water and mud more than a 100 feet high, with massive amounts of ice impeding a flow in the river system. Without the ice, the height of the surge would be much lower, yet cause 60 million in damage.
    But in winter,…….. I would expect Goose Bay-Happy Valley and Mud lake wiped off the face of the map……..and perhaps a total loss of life in those communities.
    Frankly , this is "big shit stuff", being ignored.
    When Cabot says the Dam Break studies does not include for ice conditions, yes ………must be reading my mail, or certainly my thoughts.
    Winston Adams

  4. Of course while the scheme of hiding or misrepresentation of important engineering data necessary to address the North Spur issue is likely the single most important question for the Inquiry to unravel, the other schemes as: `do we need the Power` and false assumptions of power demand, and reliability of power transmission overland on the GNP etc, and 25 years of failure of Conservation and Efficiency options, improper consideration of our wind resource, ………the many little schemes……….all need exposure by the Inquiry. The Inquiry will need the assistance of experts, Liberty or other engineering experts that are independent and transparent to expose the scope of the many little schemes that make up the big scheme.
    The Inquiry will need not just engineering capability,but real world class capability, for a change.

  5. Yes, we have two monsters on the Churchill, one was a natural creation, the quicksand etc. And we have no control over it; the other is of our creation, the monster Frankenstein, or NALCOR that we, the people, have no control over. But, we can control NALCOR, the government created it and can destroy it, it just needs the political will. NALCOR needs to be disbanded, and a much smaller organization created to over see muskrats future, and controlled by government, and we the people. If we need another corporation to over see oil and gas , and minerals, then create another one, but again one that we have control over. Yes we created a Frankenstein, and Frankenstein created another cousin, called building a 15$ billion white elephant on quicksand that not even Frankenstein could ever control. Hoops….for Christ sake save us, from our own destructive ways.

  6. Those financial interests, (bank of Canada?), who are heavily invested in the Muskrat, must be in some state of worry this morning, about getting a "Haircut". The Trump solution in Puerto Rico is to just make the debt disappear. Not to worry NL, the Fed has your back. Your move M. Morneau. Those daily per diems do add up.

  7. A large part of the risk associated with the North Spur may be overlooked if too much focus is on whether or not there is evidence and/or a risk of one type of landslide – i.e., downhill progressive landslides (triggered from the top), as in Rissa.

    Also what matters is whether or not the North Spur has a history of, and whether or not the Spur has been mitigated against, a "progressive failure" of any type.

    Nalcor expressly states that its stabilization works are designed and built so as to prevent both a downhill progressive slide and an uphill progressive slide.

    However, Nalcor, Hatch, etc. has categorized both the Edward's Island and the 1978 North Spur slides as "flowsides".

    So how much does it matter, if they are uphill, downhill, or flowslides (retrogressive)?

    Flowslides are also a form of "progressive failure" — multiple failure/slides.

    In the world of geotechnical engineering, it is well known that when the liquidity index is greater than 1.2, flowslides (progressive failure) can occur (and has occurred on the North Spur).

    The visible portion of the North Spur sits on top of a lower clay layer that has a liquidity index that ranges from 0.1 to 2.0 (over 123 tests), with an average of 0.6.

    But it is known that when the index value is above 1.2, then a flowslide (progressive failure) can occur —- and has occurred on the North Spur — in 1978 one such slide narrowed the Spur to about 80 metres at the top.

    Nalcor has inappropriately applied the lower clay index value AVERAGE of 0.6 to argue that a flowslide (with its retrogressive/progressive failure) cannot therefore occur.

    That would make no more sense than arguing that driving intermittently well above the speed limit would not be a problem because one's AVERAGE speed was well below the posted cut off.

  8. Good explanation……..and typical of how Nalcor justifies their decisions. Imprudent as Liberty would say, and in this case Reckless.
    I wonder if you would also assess the prudence of keeping the MF reservior level at 21.5 (actually lowered it about 1 meter from 22.5,in May 2017. increasing flow, compared to the natural attenuation of the river and falls, to hold back the flow, before the spillway.
    This is respect of the cause of the Mud Lake flood report.

  9. Considering all the good ideas and concerns which drives this Blog;

    Maybe we should provide consultative and related support directly to the downstream municipality, (Happy Valley Goose?).
    From past experience, the best way in the upcoming Inquiry is to
    a) test the limits of the "Authority having jurisdiction" the municipal government has with respect to Life Safety regulations, plan review and approvals, etc.
    b) require the Developer, (NALCOR/NL Gov), to produce an EMS Evacuation Plan in the event of probable failure of the Spur dam, Reservoir Ice, etc.
    c) force a Development Agreement which includes consideration of all related area concerns; Safety, Cultural, Social and Economic.

    Other? Please comment. It is time to act.

    • Nalcor dismissively sneered at me at the JRP when I asked them for an evacuation plan and resources to execute it for HVGB. HVGB has a new mayor in Snook. He might be more inclined to press for an EMS plan than the last mayor that sat on the Nalcor board for a while I believe.

    • Not too surprising Bruno. Despite the fact that Provincial Governments arbitrarily over rule Municipal regulations, in an effort to bypass local rights and privileges, (let's call it self regulation), I still believe Municipalities have strong rights. When applying for permits to build, I was often called upon to submit drawings to the local Authorities for approval. If the public is to get the most from the inquiry, would you not agree that supporting the Municipality most vulnerable to the probable failure of the build form is one way we could bring NALCOR in to line?

    • Absolutely I agree. Let's hope Snook acts to protect the interests of HVGB. You should contact him and spell out his rights as a municipality.

      As you know municipalities are the creation of the province and have few constitutional rights.

    • Would it not be therefore the right thing for us all to help the HVGB gain back the Authority, any functioning that Municipal Governments in Canada have rights and privileges to?

      How best can we all contribute to the rebuilding?

  10. 1. I would contribute to the cost of a alternate assessment of the Mud Lake flood. The existing report has much data that would reduce the time and cost of another opinion.
    I am already doing end -use research that the power companies refuse to do for efficient heating……….so why not for this.
    2. Snook was to finish up…so maybe there is a new mayor. I wonder if Jamie Snook is now on side with Nalcor……..he requested finacial support a few years ago for a town rec facility , which Nalcor refused……….but a month or so ago changed 180, to donate 1 million!
    Maybe explains why Snook ignored my views on the flood issue, which I emailed him.

  11. The flood at Mud Lake, and its root cause, is an important event as an indicators of what is to come: more floods and increased costs to mitigate, resettlement of Mud Lake etc, even if the Spur holds.
    Central is what proper control of the spillway can mitigate water flow to avoid flow.
    Nalcor held the reservoir level at 21.5 m, saying water in equals water out, but since water in was increasing , the gates were opened more to let increasing volumes out.
    In my opinion, not only was this wrong, it was BACKWARDS to what should have happened.
    Here is my take:
    Just prior to the spring melt, when volumes coming through MF was relatively low, Nalcor should have increased flow through the spillway, bringing down the elevation , perhaps 5 m, from 21.5 to 16.5m. Then as the melt commences, and water flow upstream increases, close off the gates more to let the reservoir level to slowing rise. This shaves off the maximum flow going downstream, by backing up the water in the reservoir, perhaps to 21.5 m again.
    This approach mimics the attenuation of the natural flow by the restriction of the river at MF to reduce the flooding.
    So the gates initially opened more, and then closed further to achieve the desired reduction downstream at peak flow. The melt is of a duration of about 1 week , and this is a TIME duration issue, to moderate the maximum flow with the gates.
    I respectively ask others, especially engineers, to comment.
    Winston Adams

  12. The Telegrams Brian Jones is against a public inquiry for MF saying that it will be a fistful of political manipulation.
    He uses new phrases: Danny's Doomboggle, Dannyboggle, and Muskratgate (this one I may have first used on UG, in relation , not to the whole project , but the questionable operation of the spillway GATES to cause the flood in May.)
    An inquiry is a waste of money ….we just need a forensic audit he says to know where the money went.
    He says the news pages, the opinion pages for seven years , have been brimming with information , analysis and criticism that precisely predicted there the Dannyboggle was heading and where it would end up, and why.He says that a public inquiry won't reveal anything not already known to anybody paying attention this last seven years. He says what the inquiry won't do is call Ball to the stand and ask why he did not stop the project two years ago…….because the terms of reference won't allow it. They will only look at the projects irrational approval , not the irrational continuance.

    My take…….the terms of reference must allow this broad scope. And there is plenty that the main media did not cover, as there was virtually no investigative jouralism, especially by Brian's own paper…the Telly.
    Comments on Brian's piece:
    Gerald Niven: Our government should not control the terms of reference
    John Smith: You , Pam , and Russell is trashing this project , using lies , innuendo , and hyperbole instead of knives. Stick to the facts..the truth will set you free ( Smithy using Jesus for his cause…….LOL. Is Smith feeling the heat? Perhaps the inquiry will reveal his real identity, Smithy, like Russia using Facebook and Tritter to manipulate the public, Smithy using the Telly comments to promote face news and distortions to the public).
    Ken Kavanagh: We need proper terms of reference the conditions in a recent Uncle Gnarley post.
    Winston Adams

  13. The blog Vision by Maurice Adams seldom misses anything Muskrat related. But recently missed Russell's piece about Time to have a conservation about conservation.
    Vision 2041 has a heading EFFICIENCY, so has tried to start such a
    conversation since 2012? He actually installed an efficient minisplit for heating, posted results……..several years before Russell installed a unit.
    And he has no link to the Muskrat flood report.
    Perhaps he can add these.

    • Bruno, for new power all of what you say is good…but
      1.Power saved by customer efficiency and conservation is much cheaper than new added power….and often all of this is needed, but still insufficient.
      2. The scope of combating climate chanage is so great that I see nuclear power, even with it's risks, as necessary to offset fossil fuels, as the lesser evil. The scale of fossil fuels use is so huge , and time running out…………maybe you would not agree.

    • I agree conservation is cheaper than new capacity.

      I disagree that nukes are needed or cheaper or safer. You ignore the waste problem is unsolved and the accidents (think Fukishima or Chernobil) are devastating and persist for ages.

      China in twenty years will have as much solar as all the coal the last 80 years. Solar wind and battery storage (and DSM of course) can meet future needs in a sustainable manner.

    • Nukes are not cheap, and I do not ignore the waste problem, and I agree that China is scaling up solar and wind, but worldwide to replace all fossil fuel is a gigantic problem, and some suggest we are already at the tipping point for climate change, so twenty years and more where will the planet be. Where have we come the past 20 years……an increase in fossil fuel burning. Any reduction in coal is offset by more oil and gas burning. And nuclear is such a hard sell, for reasons you say, that it means no overall reduction in fossil fuel for the planet………so we cook ourselves….many Australia cities heading for 50C temperatures, etc.
      The task is monumental…….we need a Marshall Plan for the world………instead we have the Trump plan……the moron President. You are an optimist in the face of a bleak environmental situation……..but that is good, but can you convince your neighbours not to fly too much, as planes are not solar or wind powered, ……yet.
      But we have the eastward pipeline cancelled…… some progress.When are we to see battery powered skidoos…….we have a long way to go……..can we get there. 50-50 chance I say, and 95 percent of people I know are not concerned, and poor countries cannot be concerned…….food and shelter is a struggle for them. We are of a culture of waste, and culture is not easily changed. Conservation of energy…Nfld second worst in Canada. But number one in sexual satisfaction! Culture is hard to figure out.
      Bruno……do you support the requirement for Nfld to reduce oil extraction by 80 percent, as needed to keep temperatures from rising more than 1.5 C……….and this is needed worldwide. If you do, you have few that will support that.

    • I think you need to look to countries such as Denmark, Germany and Australia to see how we can wean ourselves off fossil fuels. The problem we have is that if the USA weans itself off fossil fuels with solar and wind it will probably wean itself off imported Hydroelectricity from Canada-ie Newfoundland and Labrador. This will be a double edged sword for us.

    • We do have a Marshall Plan Winston, it is called the Musk plan. It is the only solution nimble enough to revolutionize energy generation, storage and distribution in time to save us from catastrophe. South Australia and Puerto Rico especially are on the way.

      My interest is in a vision that will allow us to avoid cooking the planet. That 80% may disagree with me is irrelevant, is it not Winston? If it does not stay in the ground will we survive? If we are rational is there a choice?

      You see what being driven by a populist agenda is doing south of the border. Is the least common denominator the way forward? Do we want to replicate the Trump vision? Shoes for Industry and damn the torpedoes?

    • Musk is doing his part, but we need another 1000 Musks. And the planet will survive, but not in a way that is good for human survival. How many solar panels would survive the cat 5 winds that hit Puerto Rico………roofs did not survive…….house need to be reinforced concrete, including the roof, increasing the chance that some solar panels can stay attached.
      That 80 percent disagree with you is NOT irrelevant, unless we have a China type government…..who would agrre with you more so that Canadian, Nfld Or USA. More than 50 percent must agree with you for serious change.
      And I have said before, many decisions are NOT rationals, but emotional. We like to think we are all rational.
      If you suggest to anyone that air travel is very damaging to the environment, the response is: Well the plane is going anyway, so one more person makes no difference! Try it on a few and see the result. A part of the brain refuses to allow rational thought if it interfere with their lifestyle.
      Not only does Trump damm the torpedoes, but also he damms the tornadoes and hurricanes. `Now is not the time to discuss that` is the response. So, Americans and the world have to tolerate a moron, but hey………the stock market keep rising! So a good president………….RIght On ..Snook (Pete Sucey) would say.
      But there is HOPE.
      I propose termination of our oil production over 15 years. If I were to run on such a platform………might I get 10 votes in the entire province……….maybe not.
      And what if Ches Crosbie adopted this vision………a chance in Hell of that…………as Crosbie advances no vision at all, and likely see oil as our salvation.

    • Cost management and physical cracks in the dam works! It seems SNC Lavalin ignores physical geography and instead lures stupid self serving politicians into tax/ratepayer funded open ended, regulatory free, dam scams.

      It looks like BC is taking a serious look at abandonment. Lets hope they pull the plug.

    • As you know, David Vardy is using his NL expertise, and the lessons learned on the Muskrat, to assist the Site C project review team, to investigate why and how BC is following, blindly, the NALCOR model.

      In behalf of some of us in BC. we thank you David for your timely and valued services.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

    • Very convenient for Govt/Nalcor/certain ex politicians/past and present management(and I use the word "management" very loosely), a few selfserving businesspeople and SNC Lavlin–all at the expense of a poor province. DW is "dancing in glee" around the roundabouts.

    • The political sycophants use the revolving door in and out before the shit hits the fan. Announce your "audit" is limited in scope and head for the hills. Leave the turd to the next stooge that will be able to say the terms of the audit are not his idea.

      Robert the democratic institutions have become so perverse they are unrecognizable. The public interest is of no concern. Maintaining the status quo rules the day.

  14. Pam at the Telegram writes in her piece (Inquiring minds want to know ) that at 80 percent complete the project will not be stopped , and suggested it should not be stopped , that it is too late.
    I ask, when did anyone at the Telegram say the project should be stopped! Russell, way back , said if it was a private project instead of a government project, it would have been stopped……but Russell himself STOPPED SHORT of calling for it to be stopped.
    Pam acknowledges the flaws and safety issues, I think, as to the potential for floods downstream and unreasonable risk of the North Spur collapse, which are life safety issues……..yet she does not call for a stop, in whole or part of the project, pending assurances of correcting such risks.
    Would Pam live downstream of Muskrat! If she did would she condone it ot being stopped! Has she read the latest Mud Lake Report…..or just the summary and conclusion.
    The Independent has a good piece on the Inquiry, and references UG.
    And the PENG2 seems to agree with me, I think , that the Muskrat spillway was not operated properly to help protect against flooding of Mud Lake in May.
    I await his further clarification, being important, he (or she) being a Nalcor engineer. The silence of other engineers is deafening.
    Winston Adams

    • Winston:

      My views are well known here and in other media going back 10+ years.

      I do agree with most nearly all of your postings—conservation is key and that there were numerous other options not properly assessed before "Dear DW' sold our future for his own legacy.

      Technically, MF is interesting but I would suggest technically incomplete even though the spur 'stabilization' compaction grouting is finished. When we consider a work summary, we have (excluding disputes and deficiencies):
      1)all HVdc towers are standing, wire pulls to complete in the next 3-4 wks
      2)HVac line is complete
      3)most of the accessory locales are finished

      As I have said before the turn point for MF was 15yrs ago—-we have cash positive contractors lagging in production rates, we have TM civil works etc. No matter what a 'pie-in-the-sky' ideologists says, our future was sold when DW took over the provincial PC leadership and set about setting his legacy—-similar to Nero…

      As to Mud Lake, I understand that some of the H2O sent down from JRS wouldn't normally was went toward MF, in response an group of inexperienced persons made decisions that questionable at best. Since then, an apparent dearth of knowledge in ice conditions, water levels etc has allowed some 'plausibility deniability' if you we willing to believe it.


    • PENG2, What precisely does "Technically, MF is interesting but I would suggest technically incomplete"? Your language conveys a complete lack of humanity. The spur may fail but it is interesting is it??

      You analysis that 15 years ago was the time to stop this is self serving and ignores the risk, both fiscal and to human health. Just let me extract my filthy leukre and you can blame DW for your pain.

      You disgrace both your profession and the residents of NL. That damned ring is supposed to remind you of your hubris and arrogance. Have you honoured it lately?

    • PENG2, would you give us a "fair estimate" of cost for "disputes and deficiencies"? What is the current estimate for contingencies, including changes, allowances for changes, and start up? commissioning? These project cost management items would be added to what cost commitments, (Contracts + procurement), as at say 30 Sept. 2017?

      This would probably satisfy even Bruno's parry, and would indeed redeem your calling of a Professional Engineer.

    • The Mud Lake Flood Report was to be an done by an Independent consultant. It called for an independent expert adviser, who turned out to be Karl-Erich Lindenschmiter from the University of Sask, who in turn would select a consultant ,having a project manager who must be a water resources engineer, with flood investigation study experience. So far so good.
      Karl seemed to have expertise is climate issues. Karl then selected KGS group from Winnipeg as the engineering firm who has compiled the bulk of the report, and the conclusions and recommendations.
      It appears to me that at least one of these were already a consultant on the Muskrat Project, either for Nalcor or one of it`s contractors. If so , what does this say about the INDEPENDENCE of this study and Report, and Ball`s intention to get to the bottom of the cause of the flood.
      Perhaps PENG2 might be able to confirm my allegation here….
      Winston Adams

    • WA:

      Correct—they we a sub to Alstrom/GE on the Sync Condensor facility. Previous to MF, I dealt with them at Wuskwatim and Rainy River.

      With respect to the tower ice loading design; if we think back to 1982(or 83) we had quite an event here in eat NL, Quebec did a couple years ago—I don't believe the design is all encompassing.

      The missing piece I cant find is the report (and more importantly field notes) for ice study program done on the GNP in the 70-80's.

      The HVdc line is 350kV….


    • PENG2,
      1. do I understand correct that KGS is an existing consultant for aspects of the Muskrat Project, if so then questionable if independent to do this flood report.
      2. As to the GNP, my experience was this area has very high rates of flashovers from salt contamination, and high winds are risk to flashovers from wind driven salt and also for ice build up.That risks for flashovers are higher for DC than AC for the same voltage. DO you share both risks as serious ones.

    • PENG2, Is your descent into technobabble intended to impress readers or your ego?

      You have not responded. What precisely does "Technically, MF is interesting but I would suggest technically incomplete" mean?

    • Bruno, previously PENG2 stated that the issues of quick clay are very complex, which I agree. Technically incomplete likely means the stability issue of the North Spur, ice loading, flashover issues and MANY other issues are complex and were not sufficiently analysized before proceeding.Yes all this is technically interesting……and some potentially unsafe, and imprudent (to use Liberty`s word).
      One might say these issues warranted more technobabble than it got, and contributes to on-going cost increases and questions of reliability.
      If the main media did a bit more technobabble investigation, they might have helped convince the public of the high risk of proceeding with MF.
      We need more such as PENG2 to go public with their concerns. Cut him some slack, I suggest. Nalcor says everything is fine, and he says there are many problems from day 1.
      He thinks maybe this project can be salvaged, who knows for sure…….I have many doubts but lack certainty.
      Try not to frighten away those willing to expose some of the problems………we need more PENGs to come forward. Save some of your harsh remarks for the ones who are completely silent.
      Don let your `piss get hot`, as my poor departed mother would say.
      Be cool, like your hero, John Lennon! Hard to be cool……yes.
      Cheers Bruno.

    • Sorry Winston but like my hero Lennon I reserve my harshest judgement for those that know and will not speak.

      I translate his comment "Technically, MF is interesting but I would suggest technically incomplete" to simply mean deadly. Weak excuses like this was inevitable after 09 and unsubstantiated excuses to carry on in secrecy, slathered in irrelevant blather does not make him a hero.

      It makes him guilty with a big ego he must stroke in secrecy.

  15. We can now see the Muskrat DC towers, when driving from St John`s, crossing the TCH. They cause me to shutter somewhat. In the 1970s I saw photos of the ice covered conductors and steel towers knocked down and twisted up, at Sunnyside area. I bought a few pieces of the steel from a scrap dealer at Makinsons, and still have a little of it, heavy galvanized thought it was, but proved insufficient for the conditions at Sunnyside.
    These DC line towers are so much higher that I expected, even allowing for the higher voltage, (345 kw I believe), than our existing 230kv AC lines……..
    This spring we had record duration for continuous freezing rain on the east end of the province. I noticed a communication tower, in the town of Logy Bay, with no ice on the lower half , ice starting half way up,and much thicker and heavy at the top.
    Was this DC tower design perhaps intended for some other climate than ours here……….and the design pulled out from a standard used elsewhere……….
    Anyone with Nalcor or Nfld Hydro or Nfld Power have concerns on these towers……..
    A spot on CBCTV about Soldiers Pond station had one of the engineers suggesting the transmission lines could take anything mother nature could throw at it. Why am I much less certain……
    I believe PENG2 has expertise on the towers…………
    Winston Adams