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Oil released at Muskrat Falls generation facility contained: Nalcor

A photo of the tailrace channel, an area of water immediately below the Muskrat Falls powerhouse, shows the location of the oil sheen. Photo submitted by Nalcor Energy
A photo of the tailrace channel, an area of water immediately below the Muskrat Falls powerhouse, shows the location of the oil sheen. Photo submitted by Nalcor Energy

Nalcor Energy advised this week of the release of turbine oil from the Muskrat Falls powerhouse that resulted in a sheen on the water immediately below the powerhouse, referred to as the tailrace channel.

According to a news release the sheen was contained to a small area in the tailrace channel and a boom was deployed to contain the product prior to initiating cleanup.

The sheen has not extended beyond that area, the release notes, and with containment and cleanup, it is not expected to move to the river or downstream.

Nalcor says the spill originated from a bearing inside one of the turbines within the powerhouse.

An investigation is underway to identify the exact cause of the release, as well as how much product has been released from the unit. The maximum volume of oil contained inside the turbine bearing is 960 litres (similar to a home heating fuel tank), however, much of the oil remains within the powerhouse, therefore the volume on the water is much less.

Nalcor has directed Andritz, the turbine and generator contractor, to cease work while the cleanup and investigation into the incident is underway.

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