Ice-run failure of Spencer dam, USA

Spencer dam, a run-of-river hydropower dam on the Niobrara river in northern Nebraska, failed during a major river ice run on 14 March 2019. The dam’s failure sparked an investigation that provided useful findings and lessons for the design and operation of similar dams located on rivers subject to major ice runs. The investigation was conducted by the authors of this paper, who formed a panel appointed by the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO), an organization serving the dam-safety community in the USA. This paper presents some key findings regarding ice and the failure of Spencer dam.

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Ice-run failure of Spencer dam, USA

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