Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is the science of predicting momentum, mass and heat transport, and can aid in design and safety issues for dam resilience in modern settings. Applications of CFD have historically been in the aerospace, automotive and chemical process industries with limited application in the hydraulic engineering field; possibly due to the associated computational intensity that is typically required. However, over the past two decades the cost of computing power has decreased substantially while the processing speed has increased exponentially. These developments have now made the application of CFD in the commercial environment feasible. CFD is particularly valuable in complex flow situations where the outputs required cannot be provided by a traditional hydraulic assessment approach and where there are stakeholder drivers such as service life, insurance cover and safety implications of infrastructure. The need for CFD when these drivers and complex flow situations arise, are demonstrated by means of a case study.
In the case study, CFD was used to investigate the flow patterns and the predicted performance of the outlet pipework from Massingir Dam in Mozambique. Three flow scenarios with appropriate pressure and flow boundary conditions were analysed for the outlet pipework, which included bifurcations for power generation from the main discharge conduits. Specific concerns addressed were, firstly, the possible excessive negative pressure in the region of the offtake for power generation and the potential for cavitation effects and, secondly, unacceptable velocity gradients in the power offtake pipework. Results showed that although some negative pressures were possible in one flow scenario, mitigation measures based on the CFD outputs could be considered and designed before construction.
The implementation of CFD in the above case study displays how risk in design can be reduced to ensure safety issues are addressed effectively.
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It is inevitable that, sooner or later, most dams will fill with sediment. It is simply a matter of time.
When the sediment reaches the power intakes of a hydro dam, there is a risk of the turbines being destroyed and the power station being abandoned. If this happens the spillway will need to operate continuously and this may lead to spillway failure possibly followed by failure of the dam.
Spillways are likely to fail because they are not designed for continuously discharging large amounts of sediment. The concrete and fixed parts will soon be damaged and need to be repaired. Repair is possible only if the spillway is segregated into two or more chutes so that one chute can be isolated and the flow passed down the other chute(s).
Reservoir sedimentation is a serious long-term problem that threatens the long-term viability of storage hydropower schemes. In 2010 global storage capacity was estimated at 6,000,000 km³ but it is projected that 4,000,000 km³ will be lost to sedimentation by 2050.1 Storage loss occurs worldwide at a rate of about 0.8 percent per year, but the sedimentation rate in many regions such as Asia is much higher.
Many reservoirs will fill with sediment within the next 100 years or so but some will fill up in a much
shorter timeframe. The sediment builds up at the head of the lake and a wall of sediment moves slowly down the lake until it reaches the dam and, eventually, the power intakes.
This paper is intended to draw attention to the problem and to emphasise the need to mitigate or solve the problem by providing a scour intake beneath the turbine intakes.
The major problem is designing the upstream gate to operate reliably when finally needed after, possibly, many years with little or no maintenance. A solution is suggested but it is recognised that better ones may be found: the objective of this paper is to encourage designers and developers to consider a wide range of solutions and to examine the potential of modern materials to help solve this very serious problem.
Satellite remote sensing data can be used to monitor environmental processes and inform disaster risk reduction and hazard early warning. This paper describes the analysis of satellite remote sensing images to investigate the partial wall collapse of a tailings dam at the Cadia gold-copper mine in Australia that occurred on 9th March 2018. Our case study uses freely available remote sensing imagery acquired by the Copernicus Sentinel-1 (radar) and Sentinel-2 (multispectral) satellite constellations to monitor land surface changes in the Cadia mine area before and after the collapse. In this paper we discuss the benefits of utilising both radar and multispectral remote sensing imagery in a holistic approach to remote sensing, which could be used for continuous, near-real time monitoring of risk-related infrastructure such as dams without the need for in-situ measurement equipment.
We applied the Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) technique to measure surface displacements and interferometric coherence maps from a stack of Sentinel-1 radar images acquired between 2nd December 2015 and 25th June 2018 at regular 12 day intervals. The time series of surface displacements show a significant increase in the rate of movement of the dam wall in the area that eventually breached in the two months prior to the collapse. This change in movement behaviour was not observed at parts of the dam wall that remained intact. This analysis demonstrates the potential for InSAR monitoring to identify issues in advance of infrastructure failure, which could allow risk mitigation strategies to be implemented by the mine operator. We used interferometric coherence data to observe changes in the dam wall and surrounding areas before and after the collapse. A drop in coherence occurred in the breached section of dam wall, indicating the surface change caused by the collapse. Coherence for unaffected parts of the dam wall remained stable. Sentinel-2 multispectral imagery acquired between 2nd July 2017 and 24th June 2018 show the timing, extent and effects of the collapse as well as the rate of tailings movement.
The paper evaluates the stability of the reinforced rockfill at the downstream side of Waimea Dam, a new CFRD dam that is currently under construction in New Zealand. The reinforced rockfill is part of the overall diversion strategy for the dam during construction and has been designed to allow for safe overtopping to a depth of 2.9m, which corresponds to the 1 in 1,000 AEP flood.
Design of reinforced rockfill for overtopping allows for the safe passage of floods that exceed the capacity of the primary diversion works. This may be required for dam safety during construction, as is the requirement for Waimea Dam. It also serves to protect the works whist the dam is being built.
The focus of the paper is the stability assessment of the reinforced rockfill to prevent seepage induced instability during overtopping. As seepage forces have a considerable effect on the stability of the dam, a finite element seepage analysis was undertaken to estimate the seepage forces throughout the embankment, which was used in the design of the reinforcement system.
Details of the design process, including the seepage and stability analysis for a range of configurations are outlined, and recommendations for the design of similar future projects are provided.
The majority of Australian tailings dams over the last 100 years have been successfully built using upstream construction. However, recent major tailings dam failures in some countries have led to a global industry wide review of the design and management of tailings storage facilities, with a focus on the upstream raise method as a common factor for some failures. As a reaction to the recent failures, there is the potential for regulations to become more restrictive and the potential for unjustified pressure on existing and new mines to rule out upstream raising due to possible safety and failure risks.
This paper looks at whether it is the upstream construction method or other more fundamental issues that have led to these failures and examines whether such issues are equally relevant in Australia. Does Australia have a specific advantage in being able to successfully use upstream tailings dam construction or are we fooling ourselves?
The topic of upstream tailings storage is a subject of broad and current interest and the lessons learned from historic failures are rightfully leading to improvements. Implementation of good practice starts with the overall management structure that guides how tailings dams are designed, constructed, operated and closed.
Critical design practice involves understanding the unique site conditions, properties of the tailings and management of tailings placement, as the tailings form part of the overall retaining structure. Good practice during operation of upstream tailings dams is key to reducing the risk of tailings dam failures and the success of safe and sustainable closure.
This paper presents key features of both good and bad practice for the upstream raising of tailings dams and discusses how the design and operation can be made more resilient to ensure the safety of the community and infrastructure. It concludes that upstream raising can be a safe and economical method of tailings disposal if designed, constructed and operated correctly.
The importance of building and maintaining safe, resilient tailings dams has become increasingly apparent with the rise in catastrophic failures in recent years. According to the World Mine Tailings Failures (WMTF) data base, 11 major failures have occurred over the past decade, often with devastating impacts to nearby communities in terms of loss of life and impact to the environment. With the occurrence of these types of events only expected to increase in coming years, there has been a corresponding increase in global calls to action to develop monitoring systems to better predict and wherever possible, prevent these failures from occurring.
With up to an estimated 20,000 tailings dams around the world, the development and implementation of a worldwide monitoring protocol is a daunting task, particularly as many of these structures are remote and difficult to access. This is where a technology like InSAR can make an immediate impact. InSAR is a remote sensing technique that uses radar satellite imagery to measure ground movement with up to millimetric precision. Radar systems are active, meaning they collect information from reflections of the radar signal off the ground and therefore do not require the installation of any equipment. As satellite images cover areas that extend thousands of square kilometres, they can provide information not only on the stability of dams, but also entire regions. Global archives already exist due to the Sentinel constellation of satellites, which provide coverage since 2014 over most parts of the world.
In an ideal world, tailings dams are safe and constructed to provide permanent containment of mining by- products. However, experience has shown that they can fail, often with dire consequences, especially if these failures occur without warning. The development of an internationally accepted standard for tailings dam monitoring is imperative to ensure the safety and resiliency of these structures is continuously tracked. This paper explores the role InSAR can play in the development of a global protocol for tailings dam monitoring.