The on-going energy development of Hydro-Québec is part of a $2 billion project undertaken by SEBJ-Societe Energie de Baie James. The new Eastmain-1 hydroelectric power plant—located on the Eastmain River near James Bay—is designed to generate 480 megawatts of electric power. This enormous project includes a powerhouse, a dam across the Eastmain River, the spillway, and 33 dikes for reservoir closure. The largest structure being built is the powerhouse with three huge turbines. The $108 million project was started in the spring of 2004 under the direction of Canadian contractor Aecon Hochtief. Upon completion in early 2006, Aecon will have pumped over 60,000 cubic yards of concrete, two-thirds of the total 89,000 cubic yards needed for the project.

To help place concrete efficiently, Pompaction, Inc., of Pointe-Claire, Canada, is supplying the concrete placing equipment. With Montreal over 750 miles away, the contractor needs reliable equipment, since a machine failure would result in exorbitant down time. For the powerhouse and water intake project, the placing equipment is from Putzmeister: two high pressure trailer-mounted pumps, a jumbo trough mixer, and two towers for mounting specially modified placing booms.

Project manager Ken Chryssolor of Aecon Hochtief noted that the second trailer pump serves as backup because cold joints are absolutely forbidden. Consequently, in case of an equipment malfunction, the second pump can finish a pour. “We basically have to almost duplicate equipment needs because of our remote location 15 hours away from Montreal. With 600 men on a job, we can't afford down time. Fortunately, no major problems have resulted to date.” The Eastmain-1 facility is expected to be operational by late 2006.