Engineering Geological and Geotechnical Approaches for the Construction of Powerhouse Cavern of Tehri Pumped Storage Plant (1000 MW) - A Case Study
Construction of underground Cavern in the Himalayan region is full of challenges and uncertainties. Experience has shown that construction in Himalayan regions requires good understanding of geology, adequate site investigations, proper design and selection of suitable construction methodology and technology. The most commonly encountered geological problems during excavation of underground structure in Hydroelectric Projects are, Fault/Thrust/Shear Zones squeezing and swelling, wedge block failure etc. Tehri Pumped Storage Plant (PSP) is located at the left bank of river Bhagirathi in the state of Uttarakhand in Northern India. This case study indicates about the geological challenges faced and their remedial measures during the construction of Tehri PSP Powerhouse Cavern having dimension of 203m x 24m x 58m.3D-geological mapping with 1:100 scales was carried out in excavated central drift of powerhouse to evaluate the rock composition, behavior of rock mass, structural features and further investigation to finalize the layout and orientation. During the investigation Sheared Phyllite with bands of thinly Phyllite Quartzite rock were encountered in the end portion of central drift of powerhouse which had posed a mammoth challenge in designing the powerhouse cavern. Keeping in view the recommendations of geotechnical experts and the design consultants, decision were made to shift the cavern further by 50 m to avoid Sheared Phyllite bands. The shifting of cavern led to the reorientation of structures like control room, service bay and location of units etc. This paper briefly describes the Engineering Geological and Geotechnical set up of powerhouse with proper investigation approaches and excavation sequences highlighting the importance of orientation and Sheared Phyllite Zone.
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