Energy Facilities Going Underground

by David C. Willett, (M.ASCE), Vice Pres.; Acres American Inc., Buffalo, N.Y.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1978, Vol. 48, Issue 12, Pg. 54-57

Document Type: Feature article


Environmental pressures, combined with continuing development of hard-rock excavation techniques, have turned attention to the placement of major engineering facilities underground. Primary areas of interest include underground oil storage in unlined rock caverns excavated in salt or in crystalline rock. Recent studies in California and in Ontario have, however, indicated the cost of undergrounding nuclear power plants will exceed the net cost of surface plants by 27% to 34%. Several studies of underground energy storage, either in the form of compressed air or as pumped hydro, are currently being funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and tentative site selections for demonstration facilities have been made.

Subject Headings: Underground storage | Rocks | Power plants | Underground structures | Excavation | Energy storage | Environmental issues | Salts | California | United States | Ontario | Canada

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