Construction crews finished the main wall of the world's largest hydroelectic
dam on Saturday, Xinhua News Agency reported.
After 13 years of
construction, the structure of the 185-meter-high (607 feet),
2,309-meter-long (1.4-mile-long) dam across the Yangtze River was completed
at around 2 pm on Saturday.
Workers pour the last batch of concrete into a
section of the Three Gorges Dam on May 19, 2006, as they try to complete
construction of the dam structure 10 months ahead of schedule at 2 pm
on Saturday. [Xinhua]
However, the completion of the dam building of the Three Gorges Hydropower
Project marks a phased victory, for there are still great deal of works
ahead, a senior official from the State Council Three Gorges Project
Construction Committee was quoted as saying by the Xinhua News
Agency on Saturday.
"The completion of the dam also represents
landmark progress in the construction. However, tasks such as building of power
houses of the dam, the shiplock and shiplift are still formidable," said Pu
Haiqing, deputy director of the committee, when attending a forum held to
discuss the final concrete placement of the dam, which is expected to be done
Pu noted that difficult tasks of the project also include
resettlement, prevention of geological disasters and biological
The final 12 of the dam's 26 generators are to be installed
over the next two years, with a scheduled completion date in 2008, a year ahead
The dam which replaces Brazil's Itaipu Dam as the world's largest
hydro-electric and flood-control installation, is often compared to the Great
Wall in scale with 28 million cubic metres of concrete poured.
More than 1.13 million people have been relocated to make way for the
project, and more than 100 workers reportedly lost their lives in various
accidents during construction.
"This is the grandest project the Chinese people have undertaken in thousands
of years," said Li Yong'an, general manager of the China Yangtze River Three
Gorges Project Development Corporation.
Li said that the project will solve "one of the Chinese people's worst
afflictions" the flooding that has ravaged the Yangtze basin for centuries.
general view of the Three Gorges Dam on Yangtze River.
Moreover, the dam has been designed to withstand an earthquake measuring
7.0 on the Richter scale and is solid enough to withstand terrorist
attacks, according to Cao Guangjing, deputy general manager of the
China will spend 10 million yuan (US$1.25 million) annually to prevent
upstream floating rubbish from piling up at the dam, thereby ensuring that
vessels travelling past the dam operate safely.
According to project development corporation officials, the volume of
floating rubbish into the Three Gorges Reservoir amounts to 100,000-200,000
cubic metres each year, most of which accumulates in flood seasons.
The government has set aside US$5 billion to build sewage treatment plants
around Chongqing and other upstream cities to prevent the river from turning
into a cesspool, Cao said.
"Reservoirs worldwide are being more or less beset by rubbish, and the Three
Gorges Reservoir is no exception," said Hu Xing'e, a corporate official in
charge of reservoir business.
The corporation has spent more than 20 million yuan (US$2.5 million) on
building a rubbish-clearing vessel, so far the largest of its kind in China.
Floating rubbish that is collected will be sorted out and then be buried or
Apart from generating clean energy, the landscape-altering mega-project, with
a designed water storage capacity of 39.3 billion cubic metres, will also
harness flooding and benefit shipping.
Cao Guangjing said his company has taken comprehensive measures to deal with
There have been concerns that the project would affect lives, water quality,
cause silt accumulation and maybe even modify local climate slightly in the
"The negative effects on the environment caused by industrial sewage and dust
produced in the project's construction process are under control," Cao said.
The government has decided to shut down 1,000 polluting enterprises in the
upper reaches of the project.
Launched in 1993, the Three Gorges Project, with an estimated investment of
203.9 billion yuan (US$25.2 billion), will have 26 generators with a combined
generating capacity of 18.2 million kilowatts.
The generators will churn out 84.7 billion kilowatt-hours a year when the
final touches are completed in 2008, officials said.