Renovation SHAFT 1

schacht 1

Here we go! EIG EURIDICE is renovating the SHAFT 1 hoisting system for the HADES underground laboratory. This will bring 40 years of faithful service to an end. With the arrival of the new installation, HADES' oldest access shaft will be getting a thorough refurbishment. The renovation is of great importance for ensuring access to this unique underground research facility in the coming decades.

EURIDICE called in three contractors to carry out the renovation works. Swinnen NV from Balen, Spie Belgium from Geel and the German firm Thyssen Schachtbau. These contractors will be responsible for the infrastructure works on the surface, the technical installations such as electricity and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditions) and the renovation of the hoisting system and the shaft. ONDRAF/NIRAS is financing the works. The total cost price for the works has been estimated at over 7 million euros.

The contractors began removing the old hoisting system in early February this year. The iconic green hoisting tower that had characterised the skyline of EURIDICE since the 80s was taken down and a temporary hoisting system was fitted in the shaft for the duration of the works. The concrete wall will be repaired where necessary and all the technical piping will be renovated.

When the corona crisis broke out, the activities in the shaft were temporarily suspended. It will take a little under a year for the new hoisting system to be operational. HADES will not be accessible to visitors during the works. We hope to be able to descend underground with visitors again as soon as possible in 2021 to explain the research programme into geological disposal. After all, this will be continuing unabated.  With the renovation of SHAFT 1 and the hoisting system, HADES and EURIDICE are starting a new chapter.  “In that sense, the renovation operation is at one stroke a symbol of the renewed engagement of both members, ONDRAF/NIRAS and SCK CEN, with the EIG EURIDICE and with the research into geological disposal,” says Peter De Preter, Director of EIG EURIDICE.


The renovation operation in 7 steps

7 stappen

Step 1: Removing the hoisting cage and cable

First, the hoisting cage and the cable will be retrieved from the shaft.

Step 2: Demolishing the tower

Next, the hoisting tower, machine room and electrical distribution centre will be demolished. The contractors will begin the ground works to prepare the site for the new hoisting building and fit a temporary hoisting installation, with which they will carry out the maintenance works.

Step 3: Dismantling the shaft

The caged ladder and the utility piping (including electricity, ventilation, data, water and compressed air) will be removed, along with the vertical guide lanes for the hoisting cage.

Step 4: Repairing the concrete

The concrete wall will be sprayed clean and repaired where necessary.

Step 5: New piping in the shaft

The contractors will fit new guide lanes for the main and emergency cage, run electrical and data cables, fit new compressed air and high-pressure water piping and renovate the ventilation channel.

Step 6: New hoisting building

While the works in the shaft are underway, the contractors will construct the new hoisting building. This hoisting building will replace both sheds and will be kept free of frost by blowing ventilation air from the shaft into it.

Step 7: Installing the hoisting system

The contractors will install the new hoisting system: the machine that will drive the hoisting system, the cable from which the hoisting cage will hang and the tower to carry it all. Once these have been installed, the cage will be attached to the cable and the test journeys can begin.