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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Snowy project reaches new landmark

The precast manufacturing facility for Snowy 2.0 in Cooma has achieved a significant milestone by completing the production of 100,000 out of the required 130,000 concrete segments. These segments will line 27 kilometers of tunnels for the pumped-hydro megaproject.

Utilizing over 230,000 cubic meters (or more than 550,000 tonnes) of concrete, the facility has manufactured seven-tonne precast segments, which are being installed by the three tunnel boring machines (TBMs) employed on the Snowy project.

Dennis Barnes, CEO of Snowy Hydro, expressed satisfaction with the local manufacturing and investment aspect of the project, which also provides employment opportunities. Approximately 200 individuals from the 3,000-strong Snowy 2.0 workforce are employed at the Cooma precast factory, operated by the project contractor, Future Generation Joint Venture.

The precast facility boasts a concrete batching plant and an onsite laboratory to ensure the quality of every segment produced. Many raw materials, such as aggregates, are locally sourced from quarries at Mt Mary and Nimmitabel.

Careful design of the concrete mix, incorporating waste material, has led to a significant reduction in the environmental production footprint while enhancing the segments’ durability and performance. Robotics are employed on carousels to automate the demoulding, cleaning, and application of release agent on the segment moulds.

One of the carousels has been modified to produce precast segments for the Snowy 2.0 inclined pressure shaft (IPS). This steep 1.65km shaft, to be excavated by TBM Kirsten, will link the underground power station with the headrace tunnel from Tantangara.

The IPS segments feature a world-first force-activated coupling system (FACS) designed to withstand the powerful internal forces of water moving through the 10-meter diameter inclined tunnel. Installing segments with FACS eliminates the need for a second tunnel lining, thereby enhancing quality, safety, and the rate of tunnel completion.

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