Shaft extension design at the Underground Research Laboratory, Pinawa, Manitoba

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 84, No. 945, 1991

G.W. Kuzyk, AECL Research, Pinawa, Manitoba, J.R. Morris, V.B. Cook Co. Limited, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and A.E. Ball, Wardrop Engineering Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba

AECL Research has constructed an underground laboratory for the research and development required for the Canadian Nuclear Fuel Waste Management Program. The experimental program in the laboratory will contribute to the assessment of the feasibility and safety of nuclear fuel waste disposal deep in stable plutonic rock. In 1988, AECL extended the shaft of the Underground Research Laboratory (URL) from the existing 255 m depth to a depth of 443 m in cooperation with the United States Department of Energy (USDOE). The project, which involved carrying out research activities while excavation and construction work was in progress, required careful planning. To accommodate the research programs, full-face blasting with a bum cut was used to advance the shaft. Existing facilities at the URL had to be modified to accommodate an expanded underground facility at a new depth. This paper discusses the design criteria, shaft-sinking methods and approaches used to accommodate the research work during this shaft extension project.
Keywords: Underground excavation, AECL Research, Nuclear fuel waste disposal, Shaft sinking, Mine design, Instrumentation, Blast design, Ground control.