Grout Curtain & Sheet Pile Project: The Port Hope Canadian Nuclear Laboratory

The Challenge

In 2018, the Port Hope Area Initiative (PHAI) was put into place as part of the Canadian government’s plans to address the safe cleanup and long-term storage of radioactive waste.

To accommodate this initiative, a new harbour wall was to be installed at the Port Hope nuclear storage facility and dam, with the goal of preventing further seepage of potentially harmful radioactive waste into the nearby environment.

The Solution

The first step was the construction of wave attenuators used to protect the project and workers. Given there was no land access for the equipment, the attenuators had to be built via barges. A pile-supported template was first installed to guide the sheet pile placement for the structures. The structure was then filled with waste rock.

Next was the grouting of the harbour wall to seal the rock and prevent any seepage of waste. The grouting plan was designed by Marathon’s in-house engineering team using knowledge garnered from previous experience. The grout curtain measured 200-metres long and 5-metres wide and required over 1,000 holes. Holes were cored using a diamond drill in five distinct rows with a slight batter to compensate for potentially pure vertical rock fractures.

The holes were drilled and grouted independent of each other in a specific sequence, which ensured that our three drill crews maintained the project schedule. After 20 metres of completed curtain, the grouting plan was tested by our engineering team to assess the hole spacing to further optimize the plan.

The challenging access conditions along with the strict regulations surrounding the nature of the facility made this project the perfect showcase of Marathon’s capabilities. We can blend our practical experience gained over our 40-year history with our in-house engineering strength to tackle any complex scope of work.

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