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The Path to First Power

A critical step on the path to first power from the Muskrat Falls generating facility was the creation of the reservoir (impoundment). The reservoir is the area upstream of the Muskrat Falls facility – it extends 59km upstream of the facility to Gull Island.

Reservoir Impoundment

With the completion of impoundment, we are maintaining the reservoir level in its normal operating range of 38.5 – 39.0 metres.

As work continues on the installation of the turbines and generators in the powerhouse, the river will continue to flow through the Spillway. 

Safety Awareness During Impoundment

Your safety is our top priority 

As a number of hazards exist in and around the reservoir, we continue to advise people to avoid the Muskrat Falls reservoir downstream of the Gull Island site. Conditions in the river, along the banks, and in the newly impounded areas, are constantly changing and changing rapidly.

For your safety:

  • Avoid the Muskrat Falls reservoir downstream of the Gull Island site.
  • Be aware of potential hazards, such as trees sticking out of the water, floating logs and sandbars.
  • Stay back from the river’s edge and banks along the reservoir. Slumping and slides can occur as these are regular events on the lower Churchill River.
  • Be aware of changes in water levels.
  • Stay away from the facility as there is a strong water force upstream and downstream of the Spillway.

Please do not access the North Spur from the river
The North Spur portage trail remains closed. We are working on re-establishing the portage trail that travels over the North Spur and river users will be notified when it is open.

Please refer to the impoundment map below that shows the previous river boundary and the new river boundary at 39m. 

Important Public Safety Information

Please pay attention to safety signage
There are a number of safety hazards near the Muskrat Falls facility. We have placed signs to warn river users of these hazards. It is important for river users to always stay away from the facility as there is a strong water force upstream and downstream of the spillway.

The Muskrat Falls facility has been marked with safety signs. If you are in the lower Churchill River valley, here’s what you should to do to stay safe:

  • Avoid waterways upstream and downstream of generating facility.
  • Obey all danger and warning signs and stay a safe distance from the safety boom.
  • Stay well back from the edge of a waterway or steep slopes along the reservoir. These areas may be slippery or unstable.
  • Be cautious of dry areas below dams. Water levels can quickly change and sandbars can become exposed.
  • Stay away from generating facility structures.

Monitoring the Performance of Our Facility

The Muskrat Falls generating facility has been built to the highest standards of dam safety and construction and the facility is monitored and constructed to meet Canadian Dam Association Dam Guidelines.

We have a comprehensive Dam Safety Program for Muskrat Falls developed by SNC-Lavalin. Our dam safety monitoring is designed to assess the force/pressure of the water from the reservoir on permanent structures of the Muskrat Falls facility including the South Dam, Powerhouse, Spillway, North Dam, North Spur and three Transition Dams.

Our dam safety team uses a combination of manual and automated processes to frequently monitor the generation facilities to confirm that the structures are performing as designed. Our trained staff frequently walks around the structures inspecting, observing and recording their behaviour. They also travel by helicopter to survey the entire reservoir area. Automated monitoring includes observing and analysing a variety of instruments that measure and record such things as water pressure and seepage, structure movement, water level and temperature. The image below lists the instruments installed for the generation structures and the conditions they monitor.

Throughout impoundment, we issued weekly updates to stakeholders. This included information about water levels and our dam safety monitoring reports. For an overview of our Dam Safety Monitoring Program, please click here.

Dam Safety Weekly Monitoring Summary Reports

Stay Informed

We will continue to provide updates here as well as on our Facebook page (facebook.com/NalcorEnergy) and through Twitter (@NalcorEnergy). We will also share more information through our Stakeholder Updates.   

If you have a question, please contact us:
E: lowerchurchill@nalcorenergy.com
T: 1-888-576-5454
Office: 18-21 Burnwood Drive, Happy Valley-Goose Bay

MUSKRAT FALLS PROJECT