Page 1

Volume 9, Issue 1, April 2011

Eastmain-1-A powerhouse

First turbine ready to run Sarcelle powerhouse

Distributing valve: A long-awaited descent Baie-James hydropower project

A date to remember!

People with a powerful vision

A date to remember! Come and discover huge structures in the heart of the boreal forest! See how the pioneers lived at Robert-A.-Boyd Park! To find out about visiting the Robert-Bourassa hydroelectric generating facility and Robert-A.-Boyd Park, the historic site of the G-8 exploration workcamp, call 1 800 291-8486 or go to

On April 23, 2011, the Baie-James hydropower project will be 40 years old. Mark this historic anniversary on your calendar! It’s time to celebrate. On that date in 1971, then-Premier Robert Bourassa annonced the Baie-James hydropower development project. The announcement came in fulfilment of a campaign promise to create 100,000 jobs in Québec, a promise born of a vision of what Québec could be and of how to realize its full energy potential. Société d’énergie de la Baie James [James Bay energy corporation], created for this hydropower project, is also turning 40. It has spent its years in existence as the prime contractor running projects at Baie-James, which, in the final analysis, have made us what we are today. Where are all those workers today? Have they, like many of us, followed the projects, trodden the sand of new jobsites, walked the roads that made this megaproject possible? Were they bitten by the northern bug? Are they still up here, indulging their passion? I’ve been thinking a lot about something lately, and that is our lasting contribution. Our pride in the future, like when a child learns at school that building the hydroelectric complex at Baie-James started in 1971 and continued until 2012.

That Hydro-Québec’s installed capacity now amounts to 17,413 MW and that we are the ones us who devoted our exceptional talents, vision and courage to the project, day after day. Why? Because Robert Bourassa was a visionary. He saw that building dams and generating stations was vital to Québec’s economic survival. Keep in mind that, in the early 1970s, power use was increasing, while production was stagnating. At the time, Québec imported 80% of its energy and was dependent on increasingly expensive oil. Today, not only is our influence felt nation-wide, but we proudly export our know-how around the world. So happy anniversary, La Grande! Happy anniversary, SEBJ, you people of vision and energy! Happy anniversary, all you passionate, skilled men and women throughout Québec, who came up here in the middle of this magnificent territory with your hearts and your suitcases to enable our renewable energy, the blue gold of Québec, to supply our families and become world famous.

Bionda Miotto, editor

Supervisor – Public Relations / Magazine Editor: Bionda Miotto / 819 865-2100, ext. 4151, Advisor – Public Relations and Editor-in-Chief: Jimmy Lavoie / 819 865-2100 poste 4159, Writers: Geneviève Bujold, Pascal Dion, Catherine Langlois, Jimmy Lavoie, Liza Perron Contributors: Normand Faubert, Bernard Rhéaume, Jean-Maurice Tremblay Translator: Karin Montin / Reviser: Isabel Fonte / Graphics: Paul Salois Design / Additional graphics: Catherine Langlois Photographer: Paul Brindamour / Additional photos: Hydro-Québec archives, Catherine Langlois / Printer: Imprimerie Lebonfon Eastmain Magazine is published by SEBJ Public Relations for the workers of the Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project. Internet site: Extranet site: (© SEBJ, All rights reserved) Eastmain Magazine is printed on chlorine- and acid-free EcoLogo certified paper, made in Québec, containing 100% post-consumer fibre, manufactured using biogas energy. 2 Eastmain Magazine, April 2011

People with a powerful vision

Rupert diversion jobsite

Mitigation measures to be implemented in 2011 In 2011, SEBJ plans to award no fewer than 60 work packages, to be carried out almost exclusively by tallymen and Cree companies. The work specifically concerns development for land use: building access roads, ATV trails and boat ramps, goose-hunting ponds and camps, etc. A dozen contracts have already been awarded and are being carried out, and some 25 others should be awarded in the course of the year. Ten of the contracts will be to build 34 portages along the Rupert, totaling 27 km of trails, including navigation signage and landing sites. Plus, for boating safety in the immense diversion bays, there are plans to award another six contracts to put up close to 300 navigation signs. For the landscaping and development of the affected sites, 15 contracts will be awarded for the planting of 1.5 million shrub seedlings and 9 more contracts for the mechanical seeding of over 50 ha of land. Last, some 120 ha of exposed banks of the Rupert will be revitalized by means of aerial seeding. It’s quite a program! Bernard Rhéaume Division Manager – Mitigation Measures Rupert diversion jobsite

Eastmain Magazine, April 2011 3

Eastmain-1-A jobsite

Turbine manufacturer refocuses on last two generators

JL – Now that generating unit LC 11 has been delivered for ready-to-run testing, turbine manufacturer Voith Hydro can refocus on assembling LC 12 and LC 13. Work on middle unit LC 12 will involve stator installation and electrical testing. On March 19, various associated activities were also performed, such as assembling the spider, installing auxiliary services and instruments, and putting up catwalks in the turbine pit.

In LC 13, Voith Hydro has installed the wicket gates, which control the flow of water. It has also lowered the runner into the pit using overhead cranes. The runner channels the mechanical force of the water to spin the rotor on its axis. Last, the head cover, to be installed on top of the runner, is being assembled in the assembly area.

On February 6, the first rotor at Eastmain-1-A powerhouse was lowered into LC 11 turbine pit. Two overhead cranes were used to move the rotor, estimated to weigh over 500 t.

4 Eastmain Magazine, April 2011

People with a powerful vision


Lowering the first rotor

JL – Consortium TAP is busy these days as the commissioning of the first generator approaches fast. By the end of March, the continuing installation of busbars, disconnect switches and other related equipment was a main concern. The electricity produced by generating unit LC 11, starting in May, will travel through one of these busbars on its way to the transformer outside the powerhouse. The company is also starting to work on the last unit in the powerhouse, LC 13.

It is also continuing with electrical and mechanical work of all kinds, from office telephones to architecture, achieving objectives so that the various switchgear and controlgear can be started up. There’s electricity in the air!


Eastmain-1-A jobsite

Lots to do before first switch flicked

Eastmain Magazine, April 2011 5

First turbine ready to run JL – An important race against the clock was won at the end of March, when turbine manufacturer Voith Hydro delivered generating unit LC 11 to Eastmain-1-A powerhouse. LC 11 is now ready to run, in the final stage before commissioning for commercial service. In the ready-to-run stage, the unit is put into service gradually. First, in early April, the penstock and draft tube shaft were filled with water. Then a series of tests—mechanical, automation, rotor balancing, and other—began. LC 11 is slated to be put into commercial service in mid-May.

Exciter Supplies current to rotor’s electromagnets. It’s one of the last components installed on a generating unit (green in picture above). After that, the generator floor is placed around it, covering the spider (gray octagon in picture).

Rotor Moving part of generator, consisting of 72 electromagnets. Its rotation induces an electric current in the stator. Diameter: 12.96 m Height: approx. 2.8 m Mass: 503 t Rotation speed: 100 rpm

Scroll case Spiral tube that distributes water evenly throughout the turbine. Each section is welded to the stay ring. The diameter at the scroll case inlet is 8.7 m and it narrows to approximately 2 m.

Stay ring (white vanes in picture above) Two rings connected to each other by the stay vanes, which receive water under pressure from the scroll case and direct it to the wicket gates (stainless steel vanes behind stay vanes).

Wicket gates Twenty-four wicket gates control the flow of water entering the turbine. They are between the runner and stay ring (see picture opposite). Mass: 2.98 t each

Runner Moving part of turbine that transmits the flow of water to the shaft, which turns the rotor. The runners were made in Brazil and transported all the way to Chisasibi by boat. Mass: 120 t each

6 Eastmain Magazine, April 2011

People with a powerful vision

Inside a Turbine CL – There are many Francis turbines at Baie-James: counting the three in Eastmain-1-A powerhouse, there are no fewer than 55, for a total installed capacity of 15,044 MW. That’s more than 85% of the power generated by the entire La Grande complex.

The other types of turbines used in the region—Kaplan (Laforge-2 and Brisay), propeller (La Grande-1) and bulb (Sarcelle)—are more suitable for powerhouses with lower heads (10–37 m).

Francis turbines are so popular at Baie-James because 7 of the 11 powerhouses in La Grande complex have such high heads. They vary from 57 m (Laforge-1) up to 138.5 m (La Grande-2-A).

Let’s take a closer look at the main parts of the Francis turbines used at Eastmain-1-A powerhouse, designed and installed by Voith Hydro. Each unit produces approximately 256 MW.

Generator floor Spider


Thrust bearing

Guide bearing

Stationary part of generator, made with copper windings, where the movement of the rotor produces electricity.


Gate ring Head cover

Thrust bearing support

Lower pit liner Bottom ring Draft tube

Eastmain Magazine, April 2011 7

Gantry crane

Line and switchyard

PD – Concrete work continues. At the beginning of April, concreting of unit LS 21 was half finished. Concrete work for unit LS 22 was completed on March 18.

On Sunday, March 20, the gantry crane was transported to the Sarcelle powerhouse. Then on Saturday, March 26, after two days of intense work, nine Canmec employees installed the winch housing on the crane structure.

In March 2011, the towers for the 315 kV line connecting the Sarcelle and Eastmain-1 switchyards were completed. In all 192 towers, numbered from 2 to 193, were installed. In parallel, transformer C 23 was transported, installed and fitted out at Sarcelle. Transformers C 22 and C 21 will be installed later this spring.

In April, Euler will install the stoplogs and trashracks upstream of the powerhouse.


Intake canal and tailrace

In March the frames and covers for the draft-tube gates located between the diffuser and the drafttube cone in the Sarcelle powerhouse were installed. The draft-tube gates and pistons will be installed this month.

Les carrières Bob-Son Inc. were awarded the contract to excavate the upstream cofferdam and remove the downstream plug, with a total bid of $6,945,000. Employees from the company will begin work in April.

8 Eastmain Magazine, April 2011

People with a powerful vision


Sarcelle jobsite


Sarcelle jobsite

Bulb turbines: distributing valve installed For the prefabricated outer surface of the distributing valve (outer flange), about 9.8 m in diameter, connected directly to the sealing ring, an O-ring and 144 bolts were used. Two sections of the unit were preassembled at Eastmain-1 powerhouse. The first section is the distributing valve, which includes, among other things, the head covers, wicket gates, rods and gate ring. The second comprises the shaft, thrust and turbine bearings, and turbine guide bearing. The thrust and turbine bearings comprise the generator guide bearing, as well as the thrust and counterthrust bearings. LP – The distributing valve of generating unit LS 23, in preassembly since December 2010 at Eastmain-1 powerhouse, was installed on the unit this past March. It arrived at Sarcelle and was installed in two sections. Located between the upstream sealing ring and the downstream runner chamber, the distributing valve controls the flow of water to the runner’s adjustable vanes. When LS 23 is filled with water, it will also block the water passageway. Putting the distributing valve in the unit demands great precision. The unit must be absolutely watertight at this location. For the prefabricated upstream surface (inner flange), two O-rings and 64 huge bolts were used to attach the distributing valve to the stay ring.

The gate ring had already been joined to the outer flange (downstream) when it arrived at Sarcelle. The gate ring controls the 16 wicket gates by means of connecting rods. The rods are activated by the rotation of the gate ring. The movement of the gate ring is induced by two servomotors, which act rather like two positioning arms, one on each side, that go up and down, thus rotating the gate ring 15 degrees. Two other major components of the unit are the generator guide bearing downstream of the rotor and the turbine guide bearing upstream of the turbine. Their role is to support the weight of the rotating parts and guide the shaft when the unit is running. Soon the shaft preassembled at Eastmain will be inserted through the centre of the distributing valve and stay ring. It will then be connected to the runner downstream and the rotor upstream.

Bulb turbine in progress and others yet to come A



HUB COVER The first hub cover, for unit LS 23, arrived at the jobsite in early April. Its various components were assembled at Métabetchouan by LAR Machinerie, one of Alstom’s subcontractors for various types of work.





Legend A. Upstream well, B. Hub cover, C. Stator assembly, D. Rotor assembly, E. Shaft assembly (including turbine guide bearing), F. Stay-ring, G. Gate ring, H. Inner head cover, I. Wicket gates, J. Outer head cover, K. Turbine runner

STATORS AND ROTORS LP – Work continues at the Alstom shop. The stator for LS 23 has been completed, but the other stators are still being assembled. This involves winding, stacking, tightening and other steps, depending on the generating unit the stator is meant for.

The hub cover was prepared by painting it and adding the lock chamber, piping systems and tubing. Then the workers divided the hub cover into two sections, because it was impossible to transport a piece of equipment weighing 45 t and measuring 9.075 m on provincial roads. The crew based at Matagami welded the sealing ring between the segments for final transportation to Sarcelle at the beginning of April. PREASSEMBLY OF SHAFT AND BEARINGS The shaft and bearings were preassembled at Eastmain-1 powerhouse as the parts were received. It took weeks to assemble the generator guide bearing, thrust and counterthrust bearings, and turbine guide bearing. The main reason for doing so much work at Matagami and Eastmain-1 is to optimize use of the assembly area at Sarcelle.

Eastmain Magazine, April 2011 9


Claudia Blacksmith GB – Claudia, who is half Cree and half Innu, was born in Mashteuiatsh (Pointe-Bleue), the youngest of six children. When she was only eight, her loving mother died suddenly, leaving their big sister to look after the children. Claudia’s happy life was turned upside down. She lived with a series of foster parents, some of them her mother’s relatives, some of them strangers, and she was homesick. Her maternal uncles François and Gaston took the place of the father she never knew. They taught her about living in the bush, hunting and trapping. When she was very young, the bush was her refuge from reality and the social problems of the community.

At 16, she left school to follow François into the bush. There she met Bertrand, the love of her life. They have two sons, Samuel and Marc-André, now aged 19 and 22. In 1997, she went back to school, and for the next seven years, she worked for logging companies at Lac-Saint-Jean. In 2004, there were very few logging jobs, so she put away her chainsaw and found work in the kitchens at Péribonka workcamp. In the spring of 2008, she flew to Rupert workcamp, where she got a job with Gestion ADC Inc. Then, in February 2009, she wound up here, at the cafeteria in Sarcelle.

Having experienced the rugged existence of a logger, she adapted very quickly to life at the jobsites. There’s no lack of work, and it pays well. Claudia has met a lot of people and made new friends. The long work hours mean she gets several days off in a row. She appreciates her well-deserved breaks and spends them with her family. Now she sees her sons more often, as they are both working for Vieux Comptoir Construction as handlers at the Opinaca airport. Meanwhile, Bertrand waits patiently for them all to come home at the end of each run.

Final Family Photo of Eastmain Curling Club

On Saturday, March 26, the 180 or so members of the Eastmain Curling Club got together for this picture. Sixteen teams competed in the end-of-season tournament, held March 23–26.

10 Eastmain Magazine, April 2011

People with a powerful vision


A question of attitude

Of course, we have laws, regulations and safer or more effective equipment to be used. There are work methods we’ve been taught. There’s on-the job experience through trial and error over time, or training received from other people. We have special protective equipment and employees who supervise work. All these things are in place to make sure everything goes smoothly and to prevent accidents that could result in material damage or serious injuries. But we should not forget what’s most important: our attitude as representatives of the contractor, the employer, workers and ourselves. What could be more normal than a work assignment performed with no injuries? That’s what we call a job well done. In fact, it’s the best kind of “law” and everyone—no matter what their position—can do their part by taking the time to set up before they begin work, remind a co-worker that he’s not doing it the right way, or refuse to perform or have work done if hazards have not been controlled. Jean-Maurice Tremblay Manager – Job Safety

Eastmain Magazine, April 2011 11

The purpose of instream flows is to preserve fish spawning habitat in the shallow rapids of the downstream stretch of the Rupert.

Effectiveness of Instream Flows for Fish The species concerned are lake sturgeon, walleye and longnose and white sucker, which spawn in spring, and lake whitefish, which spawn in fall. In the case of lake sturgeon, a significant increase in the availability of whitewater spawning habitat was observed in spring 2010, yet, as a general rule, this species used the same spawning sites as in the past, demonstrating strong selectiveness. Spawning of all species concerned was observed before the flow was reduced. The data show that in 2010, their spawning took place as in earlier years, despite the reduced flow of the Rupert. The follow-up of target species spawning will continue in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Normand Faubert Supervisor – Environment Rupert diversion jobsite

Eastmain Magazine  

Eastmain Magazine