'Impregilo' Tag Archive

Dec 20 2007
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Kárahnjúkar Reservoir Bigger than “Expected”


Tofrafoss

Töfrafoss, now ‘unexpectedly’ underwater

Saving Iceland

What a surprise! After five years of listening to news of delays, accidents, deaths and so on at the Kárahnjúkar worksite, who would ever have imagined that there was something strange about Landsvirkjun’s portrayal of the whole affair?

In Morgunblaðið on the 28th of November Völundur Jóhannesson, tourist industry pioneer in the east of Iceland, spoke about Töfrafoss (the magic waterfall) dissappearing under Hálslón. Read More

Nov 08 2007
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Hálslón Tunnel Leakages Poisoning Highlands


Tunnel Halslon

photo by Tom Olliver

Saving Iceland
7 November 2007

Only two days after the glorious inauguration of the turbines at Kárahnjúkar dam, further structural problems are already emerging.

Icelandic paper Morgunbladid revealed today that severe leakages in the tunnels leading to the turbines are releasing 200 litres of water per second onto the ground surface, forming a swamp currently about a third of a hectare in size. When asked to comment on the situation, Kárahnjúkarvirkjun spokesperson Sigurdur Arnalds said the water loss was of no consequence.

Regardless of whether or not we should believe Arnalds, the revelation that tunnel water is reaching the ground water breaches one of Siv Fridleifsdottir’s [ex-Minister of Environment who pushed through the project] fundamental stipulations (no. 14):
That Kárahnjúkarvirkjun should NOT interfere with ground water levels. Read More

Jul 09 2007
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SUMMER OF INTERNATIONAL DISSENT AGAINST HEAVY INDUSTRY


Hreindyr

Hálslón, Kárahnjúkar, October 2006

A summer of International dissent and action against Heavy Industry – swarming around Iceland from the 6th of July 2007

Updated July 10th. The campaign to defend Europe’s vastest remaining wilderness continues. After the direct action camps in Iceland’s mountain highlands in the summers of 2005 and 2006 against the Kárahnjúkar dam and ALCOA’s Reydarfjordur aluminium smelter, the Saving Iceland campaign moves on to bring Iceland’s aluminium Heavy Industrialisation to a halt.

New plans for dams, power plants, aluminium smelters and other forms of heavy industry need to be stopped. The culprits include corporations such as ALCOA, ALCAN, Century Aluminum, Hydro, Rusal, Impregilo, Bechtel, Barclays, Mott McDonald, etc… Iceland, with it’s vast geothermal and megahydro possibilities, is a new frontier for cheap energy craving industrial moguls who see nothing worth saving in Iceland’s legendary wilderness.

This camp will bring together activists from all over the world, including activists from social movements in India, South America, Africa, Europe and North America. Stopping the industrialisation and ecological destruction of the last unspoilt country in the west would be a major victory for the green movement and a new incentive for a global movement against industrialisation and ecocide. Join us. Read More

Apr 24 2007

Icelandic Government Begs ALCOA Not to Rock the Boat as Landsvirkjun do Not Deliver on Time


Aluminium production in Reydarfjördur begins... using energy from the national domestic grid!

Aluminium production in Reydarfjördur begins using energy from the national domestic grid!

As Saving Iceland and others pointed out a long time ago Landsvirkjun have proven not to be able to deliver energy to ALCOA on 1 April 2007, as specified in their contract with the multinational.

This is highly embarrassing for the Icelandic government and Landsvirkjun, especially as the general elections are coming and the contract they signed with ALCOA specifies that if the energy will not be available on time the Icelandic taxpayer will have to pay penalties to ALCOA.

Apparently the government have begged ALCOA not to mention any penalty payments before the general elections on 12 May. Some weeks ago we had the questionable pleasure to listen to denials in the press that these penalties were ever written into the contract! Yet again, this shows the level of lying that ALCOA and the Icelandic government are ready to stoop to.

Obviously, it is in the interest of ALCOA that the corrupt government which gave them the wilderness of Kárahnjúkar for free, will stay in power.

Aluminium was tapped from the first pot in the new aluminum smelter last weekend. The production process began mid-April.

However, there was a low key ceremony 1 April where the Icelandic PM and other dignitaries cut the red ribbon in the factory (above). But clearly the aluminium lobby felt that making too much of the occasion might backfire PR wise in view of the embarrassing fact that the energy was not coming from Kárahnjúkar, not to speak of the defeat ALCAN experienced in the Hafnarfjordur referendum the night before!

According to mbl.is, 40 pots are expected to be put into operation during this first stage and the smelter will be running 336 pots, its full capacity amount, by the end of the year when the construction of the smelter has been completed.

The smelter in Reydarfjördur has the potential to produce 356,000 tons of aluminum per year. The smelter currently uses 100 megawatts of electricity from the national electricity system, but will need 590 megawatts from the dams in Kárahnjúkar once electricity production begins there… later this year… That is; when Landsvirkjun and Impregilo have scrambled through the last tunnels at what ever the economical and human cost.

Until then, the smelter will not be fully operational and the Icelandic taxpayer will have to foot the bill when ALCOA needs more energy to stay on production schedule (after the elections one can presume!)

For the time being ALCOA hold their breath…

But what about when it comes to the final billing from the “most litigious company in history”, Impregilo?

How much is it going to cost the Icelandic taxpayer when Impregilo have worked out all the delays caused by the deliberately highly inaccurate calculations from Landsvirkjun?

To quote our own SOS: “The Kárahnjúkar project stands as a typical blueprint for international multi-billion-dollar megaprojects where promoters self-servingly misinform parliaments, the public and the media in order to get projects approved and built. The formula for approval is a cocktail of underestimated costs, overestimated revenues, undervalued environmental impacts and overvalued economic development effects.”

If we were not talking about Western Europe’s banana republic, then Icelandic politicians and technocrats who are responsible for this disastrous mess, would be made to answer for their actions in court… But of course, as every one in Iceland knows, they have already rigged the courts with their own family members and party lackeys! Read More

Apr 24 2007
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Workers in Kárahnjúkar tunnels reduced to “licking the tunnel walls for water”


tunnel

UPDATE
24 April 2007

Around 180 subterranean workers have become ill from pollution at Karahnjukar and work in 14 km of the tunnels has been stopped by the Icelandic Health and Safety authorities.

High time that the Health and Safety finally did the work they are paid for!

Already in 2005 persistent reports started emerging from Icelandic workers that workers were being forced back into the tunnels by Impregilo way too soon after explosives had been used in them. This breaks all safety regulations.

Apparently Icelandic workers usually refused to go back in until it was relatively safe, but foreign workers had no choice and somtimes had to be carried unconcious back out of the tunnels because of the poisonous air.

Health and safety are now trying to hide behind a ‘lack of legislation in Iceland for this sort of tunnel work’.

The reluctance of the Icelandic unions and health and safety authorities to protect foreign workers at Karahnjukar suggests that there is something seriously rotten in more than one place in Icelandic society.

It seems appropriate now that there be more coverage in Icelandic media about the payments which Impregilo offered in 2003 to deposit in Icelandic union funds!

Exactly which unions received these payments from Impregilo?

Read More

Dec 06 2006

2006 Protest Camp at Snæfell, Kárahnjúkar and Reyðarfjörður


2006 Protest Camp
Snaefell camp 

 

Oct 12 2006

A Sheffielder’s Account of the 2006 Protest Camp


Sheffield activists were amongst the many people who headed out to Iceland this summer to support the protest camp against the Kárahnjúkar Hydroelectric Project, and the Icelandic governments dam building and industrialisation programme more generally. This dam building programme is threatening some of the largest and most incredible pristine areas of wilderness in Europe. The Kárahnjúkar dam is north of the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s biggest glacier. The protest camp was set up in the affected area and activists from Iceland, other parts of Europe and North America took part in a series of actions over July and August. Read More

Sep 28 2006

The Closing of the Gates…


With tears in my eyes i write these words I never believed I would. The flooding of Kárahnjúkar has now begun.

The Icelandic media has reported that within the first few hours of the closing of the dam doors on the morning of 28 September 2006, like a noose being tightened, the water level rose 15 meters. The entire 200m+ flooding depth will not be completed until next summer. Some people turned up to watch the valley be drowned, notably reporter Ómar Ragnarsson who will board a boat on the rising reservoir and film the death of the many waterfalls, valleys, cliffs, and so forth.

Despite two summers of an international protest camp in the Icelandic Highlands which was attended by hundreds of people from all over the world; despite a 15,000 people marching in Reykjavik the day before today, together with 200 from Akureyri, 50 in Ísafjörður, 100 in Egilsstaðir, a turnout which is over five times the size of the previous largest demonstration in the 300,000 person Iceland; despite a disastrous environmental assessment report; despite calls from scientists and nature lovers inside outside and out; despite all the consequences on Iceland’s economy; despite this area now to be known as the Halslon reservoir being of huge cultural significance to Iceland; despite it being the second largest wilderness in Europe: heavy industry has got its way and stolen this wilderness merely for the sake of the production of aluminium.

The fight to save Kárahnjúkar may now be over, but the fight to defend Iceland from further assaults by the pro-heavy-industry patriarchs is just beginning. Alcoa, Landsvirkjun, the Icelandic government and any other corporation profiting from this murder will pay for the death of this great wilderness.

Sep 27 2006

15,000 People March to Save Kárahnjúkar


27/9/2006

A historical amount of Icelanders today marched in four different cities against the damming of Kárahnjúkar. Following a call from retiring television reporter and nature enthusiast Ómar Ragnarsson to march on the day before the dam is scheduled to be flooded, up to 15,000 people in total walked the streets in the Reykjavik, Akureyri, Egilsstaðir and Ísafjörður. “

fimmtanthusund 

Read More

Sep 22 2006

The Kárahnjúkar Elegy by Hanna Björk


Christopher Lund

By Hanna Björk

Saying that the Kárahnjúkar dam has been controversial is an understatement. This hydro-power project, planned by Iceland’s government to dam glacial river flows and produce hydroelectric power for Alcoa’s aluminum smelter in Reyðarfjörður, east Iceland caused a debate that started a few years back. It has only been escalating. Read More

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