Beijing (UPI) Oct 27, 2010
The water level in the reservoir of China's Three Gorges dam -- the world's largest and most expensive hydroelectric project -- this week reached its capacity of 574 feet, Chinese state media reported.
Cao Guangjing, chairman of the China Three Gorges Corp., told Xinhua news agency that only by reaching the maximum level would all of the project's 26 power-generating units -- each with a capacity of 700,000 kilowatts -- be fully operational.
At peak level, the dam on the Yangtze River would generate an annual output of 84.7 billion kilowatt hours of power.
During the engineered flooding required for the building of the dam, started in 1994 and completed last year, 13 cities, 140 towns and 1,350 villages were submerged and 1.8 million people displaced.
Two previous attempts, in 2008 and 2009, to reach the capacity mark failed. When the dam began to generate power in 2008, the reservoir's water level had reached 567 feet.
But geologists warn that the extra water increases the risk of landslides, earthquakes and damage to the Yangtze River's ecosystem.
Fan Xiao, chief engineer of the Sichuan Geology and Mineral Bureau, told the South China Morning Post that landslides are inevitable because elevated water levels significantly increasing the internal moisture of surrounding banks, making them soft, loose and unpredictable.
"It's like dipping a piece of bread in milk. The deeper you go, the more difficult it is to hold on," Fan said.
The unprecedented mass of water also increases the risk of earthquakes, he said.
Yang Yong, a Sichuan-based geologist, clarifies Fan's warning:, "When the dam reaches 574 feet (the capacity mark achieved Tuesday), it will push the region's geological instability to the fringe of catastrophe."
Three Gorges' revealed its shortcomings when floodwaters raced into the dam's 400-mile-long reservoir in July, prompting a government official to admit that the dam's flood-control capacity "is not unlimited."
Thousands of tons of garbage also accumulated amid the heavy rains, threatening to block the locks of the dam.
When approved in 1992, the dam's original cost was estimated at $8.3 billion. That figure has risen to approximately $27 billion by Beijing's estimate, while other predictions make the final cost at $88 billion.
The project received additional funding Wednesday when China Development Bank announced that it would lend more than $11 billion to China Three Gorges Corp., developer of the dam, over the next five years, Xinhua reports.
Share This Article With Planet Earth
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics
China fills Three Gorges Dam reservoir to capacity
Beijing (AFP) Oct 26, 2010
The water level in China's Three Gorges Dam reached full capacity Tuesday for the first time since the world's biggest hydroelectric project began generating power in 2008, state media said. The amount of water in the dam's reservoir along the Yangtze river, China's longest, reached its design capacity of 175 metres (577 feet) early Tuesday morning, Cao Guangjing, project head told Xinhua ne ... read more
Hunt for survivors after twin disasters hit Indonesia|
Taiwan sends in heavy equipment in search of typhoon missing
New Acoustic Early Warning System For Landslide Prediction
S.Korea sends promised flood relief aid to N.Korea
Plant-Based Plastics Not Necessarily Greener Than Oil-Based Relatives
Two Dissimilar Materials Display Unexpected Magnetism
Converting Acid Rain Chemicals Into Useful Products
Australia's Telstra iPad-style budget tablet
China's Three Gorges Dam reaches capacity
Europe firm on bluefin tuna quota cut despite row
New index measures impact of fish farming on environment
Pacific fisheries face collapse by 2035: study
Whales Help Researchers Take Winter Temperature Of Greenland Coastal Waters
NASA Airborne Science Campaign Begins Antarctic Sequel
UBC Underwater Robot To Explore Ice-Covered Ocean And Antarctic Ice Shelf
Susitna Glacier, Alaska
UN starts wheat aid to 500,000 Pakistani farmers
Brazil says UN biodiversity summit needs biopiracy deal
Lack of crop diversity threatens food security: UN
Global food fest urges return to farmers' 'common sense'
Indonesia tsunami death toll tops 300
Indonesians eager to return to homes on volcano's slopes
Strong typhoon churns toward Japan
13 dead as Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano erupts
Madagascar's illicit wood trade to China
Africa's tech explosion holds promise of economic growth
UN to open peace and security office in Gabon
Rwanda, China boost military ties
How Genes Are Selectively Silenced
Fossils double age of humans in Asia
Study: Human ancestors not 'out of Africa'
How Genes Are Selectively Silenced
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2010 - SpaceDaily. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement|