NHC completes physical modeling for nalcor energy's muskrat falls hydroelectric generating facility

Nalcor Energy's Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generating Facility will be located on the Lower Churchill River approximately 25 km west of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada. The primary components of the development include a four-unit,
824 MW powerhouse facility located on the south bank of the river, a five-bay gated spillway adjacent to the powerhouse, and a fixed-crest overflow spillway connecting to the north bank of the river.
Nalcor Energy followed a multi-staged approach in bringing the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Development from concept to reality. Engineers began with initial site investigation work, progressed to computer modeling to increase the level of project definition, and then advanced to physical modeling.

NHC first utilized a 1:70 scale undistorted, fixed-bed physical model to evaluate the initial designs of the powerhouse and spillway facilities. Modeling tasks included:

  • verifying the adequacy of the overall layout; 
  • optimizing the layout to improve performance and reduce construction costs;
  • developing stage-discharge relationships for the spillway structures;
  • evaluating the hydraulic conditions during various construction phases; and
  • performing river closure tests to optimize the closure sequence and determine cofferdam rock sizes required to close the river.

Following this, NHC constructed and tested a 1:14 scale section model of the overflow spillway to verify the overall adequacy of the proposed stepped spillway design, to optimize its layout, and to evaluate the hydraulic conditions for the final layout in detail.

Click here to see a video highlighting some of the design work conducted to-date by NHC and others for the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Development.