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Saturday 23 May 2015


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 because 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.
“This 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.
Nalcor 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?