Nalcor investigates 'inconsistent patterns' on Muskrat Falls transmission lines

Nalcor Energy confirmed Friday that it is investigating a "technical issue" with the transmission line conductor wire between Muskrat Falls and southern Labrador, suspending work until more is known about "unusual patterns" on the wire.

Work stringing conductor wire halted until mystery solved, crews moved elsewhere

Nalcor is investigating unusual patterns on the wire conductor of the transmission line between Muskrat Falls and southern Labrador. (Nalcor)

Nalcor Energy confirmed Friday that it is investigating a "technical issue" with the transmission line conductor wire between Muskrat Falls and southern Labrador, suspending work until more is known about "unusual patterns" on the wire.

"Some of the metal strands that make up the cylindrical conductor are raised in an inconsistent pattern along the approximately 170 kilometres of conductor installed for the High Voltage direct current (HVdc) transmission line," said Nalcor's manager of corporate communications, Deanne Fisher, in an email response to CBC questions.

"Nalcor, along with the cable supplier, General Cable Canada, are investigating the extent of the issue. At this time Nalcor does not know the root cause and if there will be any impacts on the HVdc cable and project."

Nalcor said the issue was first noticed in the spring of 2016 during stringing of the transmission lines, and that part of the work has stopped until contractors figure out what's going on.

Cost unknown

"A decision has been made to temporarily suspend further installation of the conductor on the HVdc line until the root cause is fully understood and it is verified that the conductor meets the project's stringent quality requirements," said the company.

"The transmission line contractor, Valard Construction, continues to look for opportunities to redeploy its crews and equipment elsewhere on the transmission line to carry out other construction activities along the transmission line in Labrador and on the island."

Nalcor has not said if there is a cost to changing the work flow on the project.