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Smokorowski K.E.,Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans | Bergeron N.,INRS - Institute National de la Recherche Scientifique | Boisclair D.,University of Montreal | Clarke K.,Environment Canada | And 19 more authors.
Fisheries | Year: 2011

NSERC's HydroNet is a collaborative national fiveyear research program initiated in 2010 involving academic, government, and industry partners. The overarching goal of HydroNet is to improve the understanding of the effects of hydropower operations on aquatic ecosystems, and to provide scientifically defensible and transparent tools to improve the decision-making process associated with hydropower operations. Multiple projects are imbedded under three themes: 1) Ecosystemic analysis of productive capacity of fish habitats (PCFH) in rivers, 2) Mesoscale modelling of the productive capacity of fish habitats in lakes and reservoirs, and 3) Predicting the entrainment risk of fish in hydropower reservoirs relative to power generation operations by combining behavioral ecology and hydraulic engineering. The knowledge generated by HydroNet is essential to balance the competing demands for limited water resources and to ensure that hydropower is sustainable, maintains healthy aquatic ecosystems and a vibrant Canadian economy. © copyright 2011 Periodicals postage paid at Bethesda. Source

Coles C.A.,Memorial University of Newfoundland | Organ M.,Nalcor Energy | Veinott G.I.,Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Applied and Environmental Soil Science | Year: 2014

Concentrations of Cu, Cr, and As in soils surrounding 26 Douglas Fir Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) treated utility poles and in rainwater runoff from a new CCA treated utility pole segment (log) suspended outside in a cylinder were studied. The age of the utility poles, distances from the poles, rainfall amounts, and characteristics of soil samples including cation exchange capacity (CEC), pH, and total organic carbon (TOC) were considered. Heavier rainfall, damp conditions, and more weathered poles contributed to the greatest leaching of Cu, Cr, and As. The maximum measured soil concentrations of Cu, Cr, and As were 37.5, 65.5, and 38.9 mmol/kg and maximum Cu, Cr, and As concentrations in rainwater run-off were 14, 77.7 and 55.8 μmol/L. Metal concentrations decreased with distance from the poles and, except at one utility pole location, Cu was the most leached of the three elements. The As appeared to have greater mobility in the soil than the Cr. Along the transmission line nearest the coast and from which the greatest amount of samples was collected, soil CEC and TOC values were the highest and the CEC and TOC were directly and strongly correlated. © 2014 Cynthia A. Coles et al. Source

News Article | April 20, 2016
Site: http://motherboard.vice.com/

It’s a tale as old as time: energy company proposes big project, energy company says it will have no effects on the local population, local population says it’ll actually poison their land, and their people, for decades. Classic! The energy company in question here is Nalcor Energy, and the project is the multi-billion dollar Muskrat Falls hydroelectric dam in Labrador, Newfoundland, which got the green light from the provincial government in 2012. Flooding the reservoir to build the dam will release toxic methylmercury into the area around nearby Lake Melville, but Nalcor argues that it will be diluted enough to have no effect on the local Inuit population. But a new study, commissioned by the aboriginal Nunatsiavut Government and completed by scientists from Memorial University, Harvard, and the University of Manitoba, says that the toxic mercury released during the dam’s construction will have highly detrimental effects on the area’s wildlife and the aboriginal people who live off of it. More than 200 individuals (and their children and grandchildren) could be affected by the toxic mercury, the study’s authors concluded. Additionally, 66 percent of the community in nearby Rigolet will be pushed above acceptable mercury levels, per the most conservative US Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, according to the report. Nalcor’s more positive assessment of the dam’s effects was ”false and based on incorrect assumptions,” a summary of the study for policymakers states. “The findings from epidemiological studies show that [mercury] is associated with lifelong neurocognitive deficits,” Harvard epidemiologist and study co-author Elsie Sunderland told me. “This isn’t something that you would see visibly. It’s basically a direct impact on their brain development, so they wouldn’t realize the potential they would have without this kind of exposure.” One of the main indicators of this kind of mercury exposure is children with lowered IQs, Sunderland said. Gilbert Bennett, vice-president of the Nalcor project that oversees the Muskrat Falls dam, said in a prepared statement sent to Motherboard that "we do not predict that creation of the Muskrat Falls reservoir will heighten risk to people in Lake Melville." “We will carefully review the assumptions, approaches, parameters and outcomes of the study by Nunatsiavut Government, and any implications of the report on the project’s ongoing environmental effects monitoring programs,” the statement reads. A spokesperson for Newfoundland and Labrador's minister of environment and conservation Perry Trimper said the minister has yet to make a decision on the environmental impacts of the Muskrat Falls project, and will take the recent study's findings into consideration. Watch more from Motherboard: Oil and Water According to Sunderland, contamination of the region would take just 120 hours, and the effects would persist for decades. “We are looking at multiple generations of exposure to higher levels of methylmercury,” Sunderland said. So, how did Nalcor not catch this, if these findings are right? According to Sunderland, Nalcor simply did not take the needed measurements, and instead just assumed that the mercury would be diluted. If Nalcor had done the work, they would have seen that this is flatly untrue, she contended. “I don’t see this as a difference in opinion, or a difference in findings,” said Sunderland. “That’s a misrepresentation, because they didn’t have any findings. They didn’t study the physical characteristics of the estuary.” Nalcor declined to comment directly on this allegation. To offset the impacts of releasing methylmercury into the environment, the researchers suggest completely clearing the area of trees, vegetation, and topsoil. Even then, however, the report suggests around 30 Inuit people will be negatively affected by the high levels of mercury. “Removal of soil from the reservoir was not considered during the environmental assessment and therefore is not part of our construction plans,” Bennett said in his statement. The flooding of the reservoir to build the Muskrat Falls dam is scheduled to take place later this year, and the dam is set to be constructed by 2017.

Khan N.,Nalcor Energy | Smith J.,Schlumberger | Hinchey M.,Memorial University of Newfoundland
Journal of Ocean Technology | Year: 2013

In earlier work, we tested the Savonius rotor as a water current turbine. Here we explore the possibility of studying the behaviour of the rotor using the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software package FLOW 3D. The paper shows that CFD can predict the basic behaviour of the rotor as seen in the experiment. This result is important because running CFD takes much less time and is much less expensive than running experiments. So we can now use CFD to optimize the geometry and explore strategies for control. Source

Green S.,Ikon Science Canada Ltd. | O'connor S.A.,Ikon Science Ltd | Edwards A.P.,Ikon Science Ltd | Carter J.E.,Nalcor Energy | And 2 more authors.
Leading Edge | Year: 2014

In recent years, new deepwater seismic-based exploration work has resulted in the revision of existing basin boundaries and identification of new, potentially oil-bearing basins in the deepwater Labrador region. The petroleum potential in this deepwater area has also been encouraged by the identification of slick and seepage locations using 2D seismic data and satellite imagery. The importance is that surface slicks possibly are related to subsurface hydrocarbon migration. Thus, all recent data collated together show strong evidence for an active petroleum system in deep water. Many of the wells in shallow water have been drilled with low mud weights, suggestive of low pore pressures. However, where thick shale packages are present, significant overpressure is observed by significant kicks. Clearly, there is a close association between thick (and deep) shale packages and high pore pressure. Thus, one of the key risks in developing the deepwater potential is to understand the pressure regime. The success of this approach has been highlighted recently by successful discoveries such as the presalt Lulu field onshore Brazil and associated discoveries in Gabon and Angola and postsalt discoveries that include Jubilee field offshore Ghana and the associated discovery of Zaedyus field in French Guiana. The deepwater Vøring Basin of the Mid-Norway North Sea and the Labrador slope and deep water share a similar passive margin setting to each other, similar facies associations, and structural development. Source

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