Hydro-Quebec suspends construction at 1,550-MW La Romaine following worker death

La Romaine Hydroelectric Plant

Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec has halted all work on its 1,550-MW La Romaine hydroelectric project after a rockface collapsed, killing a worked on Friday.

Reported dead is Luc Arpin, 51, who was using a mechanical shovel to do excavation work when the rockface collapsed onto him.

“The site of the accident is not safe,” a Hydro-Quebec spokesman told the CBC. “It’s still unstable. We cannot risk the health of other workers at the moment.”

Arpin’s death is the fourth since work began at La Romaine in 2009, prompting the utility to create a committee to examine the safety practices at the site that will be co-chaired by its president and CEO, Eric Martel.

La Romaine is a four-powerhouse complex located on North Shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence that will ultimately include the 270-MW Romaine 1, 640-MW Romaine 2, 395-MW Romaine 3 and 245-MW Romaine 4.

The project is expected to be complete by 2020, with an anticipated pricetag nearing US$5 billion.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for HydroWorld.com.

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