Many hydropower companies have limited knowledge of the status of their rock facilities. Swedish hydropower development was most intensive between 1940 and 1970. Many power plants were built underground, with internal waterways in rock. The lifespan of power plant tunnels is normally assumed to be between 50 and 100 years, so there are many power plant tunnels that have already reached their lifespan. The rock has been taken for granted for many years, with limited resources devoted to maintenance and management.
As facilities age, the need for inspection and action increases, and major R&D efforts are needed to solve various problems, such as the inspection of water-filled rock tunnels. The programme looks at the rock issue in a broad sense, but there is also a need to look at issues such as foundation design, environmentally hazardous substances and ventilation in underground facilities.
In addition to concrete problems that need to be solved, there is also a need for meeting places where hydropower rock issues can be discussed. This is particularly important now that many plant owners are asking how to inspect plants and how maintenance can be done cost-effectively.