Dumaresque worried about icebergs; Nalcor says it’s cool

James McLeod
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Liberal leadership billed it as “the most serious flaw in the Muskrat Falls project” Friday, but Nalcor vice-president Gilbert Bennett says they’ve studied the threat of icebergs, and it’s under control.

Danny Dumaresque

Dumaresque called the media to the Super 8 Hotel to say that Nalcor is “playing Russian roulette” with the Newfoundland and Labrador power supply by building a subsea cable through the Strait of Belle Isle.

“I grew up there in the Labrador straits, and of course, I saw thousands of icebergs,” he said, warning that if those icebergs scour the ocean floor where the cable is laid, there will be big trouble.

But Bennett said they’ve studied this in detail.

“There’s a shoal in the northeast end of the Strait of Belle Isle — it’s called the centre bank — with water depths of about 50 metres. So if an iceberg comes down that’s at that depth or greater, it will ground on that shoal and it will either break up or melt until it can come off that shoal,” he said. “If we stay below 70 metres, the cable will be well protected simply because of its depth under the water.”

Dumaresque has been an ardent critic of the Muskrat Falls project; he’s also a strong advocate for a road tunnel to Labrador as an alternative to the subsea cable.

But Bennett said the tunnel idea has been studied, and it would be more expensive and potentially not workable. He said geological study of the area showed several deep fissures in the rock would be majorly problematic to tunnel construction.

He said in the early stages of the Muskrat Falls development, Nalcor assigned teams to look at the two options and compare.

“We had a tunnel team and we had a seabed team,” he said.

“In every one of those major considerations — so, the technical feasibility, safety, cost certainty, schedule certainty, options in terms of mitigating things if something goes wrong and geological risk — the seabed won in every category.”


Twitter: TelegramJames

Organizations: Super 8 Hotel

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • Kevin
    November 05, 2013 - 07:26

    No they would rather wait SIX MONTHS to fix it if something goes wrong with it laid on the seabed. Cant wait to see this unfold. Like i said before, STUPID GOVERNMENT AND STUPID OFFICALS THAT MAKE THE MUSKRAT FALLS DECISIONS, we are sinking as an island as we speak and before too long we will be a HAVE NOT PROVINCE. Which everyone knows is going to happen.......the clock is ticking..........................................

  • KD
    November 04, 2013 - 14:35

    I think a tunnel is a very poor idea does anyone really believe nlers and others who need to travel to other parts of canada would actually drive up the northern peninsula cross at the tuennel and then travel all the way to lab west on a fifty per cent gravel road then at lab west drive to baie comeau on a mostly gravel road after all that you are still in the middle of nowhere versus crossing the gulf from port aux basques to north sydney by ferry then drive on a four lane highway to the remainder of canada or the states for that matter I think Mr dumersque is trying to set himself away from the remainder of the leadership hopefuls he surely didnt have to come up with the tunnel idea for that

  • concerned citizen
    November 02, 2013 - 14:47

    A tunnel should have been built years ago. Just look at the billion dollar tourism potential alone. It would be money well spent , unlike 40 million a month for Muskrat Falls that we don't need. Show me where we need Muskrat Falls ?

    • David Keat
      November 04, 2013 - 09:00

      A tunnel is an unbelievably bad idea. It would cost a billion dollars or more to connect a couple of thousand people on either side of the strait; there's no way they could ever generate enough revenue on their own to pay for it. The tunnel does nothing for tourism; if you've ever been to Labrador (and I'm from there) you'd know that the the roads are impassable in winter, and given the distances between settlements it'd be downright dangerous to have tourists unfamiliar with the north driving up there in the winter. (FYI Guards at the start of the road from Lab West to southern Quebec literally take names before allowing you on the road in winter.) So summertime is when most tourists will visit Labrador, and the boat is a more scenic and cheaper option in that case. Finally, if you're suggesting a road from the tunnel to the rest of Canada, well guess who would be in charge of that? Quebec! Do you really want to trust Quebec to maintain a 1300 km road thru wilderness on Newfoundland's behalf?

  • tim
    November 02, 2013 - 13:50

    And during those teams' work, I bet neither team asked questions from people who have built these things. Just Nalcor and their egos. Fissures don't matter - you are blasting the rock anyway. Nalcor is full of it.

    • me
      November 04, 2013 - 11:08

      Do you *really* think that the Nalcor team wouldn't or didn't study this in fairly great detail including consulting with worldwide experts? The people running this project are professionals, and have a professional duty of care. I wonder why the professionalism of other people in other industries are not called into question on public forums like this?

  • Pauline
    November 02, 2013 - 09:48

    Danny, it's not Nalcor playing Russian roulette with the people, It's the Liberal, who good at playing game's. And if anyone think the five liberal hopeful is our savior. Then we going to get what we deserved. which is more hard times. Please go away, and take your friends with you, because neither one of ye got a clue.

    • Kevin
      November 05, 2013 - 07:32

      The only people that should GO AWAY AND TAKE THEIR FRIENDS WITH THEM should be the idiots like you PAULINE and if you think that this stupid government that we have in power now is what we need to make the correct decisions that your head is further up your #$% then what you think !!!!!!!! All we hear now are CUTS, CUTS, CUTS but they can justify put millions of dollars into stupid crap like REPUBLIC OF BOYLE !!!!!! Thats leadership.....................NOT !!!!!!!!!!

  • Grammer Gal
    November 02, 2013 - 09:38

    "... majorly problematic"? That's rather awkward prose, isn't it? Why not just say "a major problem"?

  • honest,ed
    November 02, 2013 - 08:29

    I wish Mr. Bennett would do is homework. Scary. Cables are typically buried 1 m and exceptionally up to 10 m beneath the seabed to protect against trawl fishing, anchoring and other activities. Google about submarine power cable

    • T. Sleeveen
      November 02, 2013 - 09:37

      I think I'll Mr. Bennett the edge here, given his experience and reputation as being a superior engineer. Anyone who's studied it knows he's right. I've seen presentations on this from others who say the same thing. Danny D. is the one who needs to do his homework.

    • me
      November 04, 2013 - 11:03

      Suggest you actually read Nalcor's published documentation on this.

  • Ben
    November 02, 2013 - 06:39

    How many things have this guy come up with to try and make MF's a bad deal. And the funny thing is that the media runs with it. Be some glad when the Lib leadership gets over and we won' t have to listen to this washed up politician every other day.

    • frank mooney
      November 05, 2013 - 09:42

      For Danny..it is better to be silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove the doubt