China Halts the Yangtze for Three Gorges Dam
Wed Nov 6, 2:12 AM ET
BEIJING (Reuters) - China finished blocking the Yangtze River at the
Three Gorges Dam Wednesday, paving the way for the world's biggest
hydroelectricity and flood control project to come on stream next
year, state media said.
The controversial $25 billion dam, which is forcing the relocation of
1.2 million peasants living along the river's banks before ancient
villages and relics are submerged, came two days before a crucial
Communist Party Congress opens in Beijing.
State television showed big dump trucks and bulldozers pouring
boulders into the dam's final opening, a diversion canal built in
1997 for boats to navigate the river during construction.
Communist Party number two Li Peng, the long-time power industry
official expected to retire from his party post at the congress,
watched through a pair of binoculars.
He called the dam one of the greatest engineering feats in history,
the official Xinhua news agency said. "The administration of a
country's national affairs becomes easier when its rivers are tamed,"
Li said, citing an old saying.
The Yangtze waters now flow through 22 diversion holes in the lower
part of the dam in the central province of Hubei.
A reservoir will take shape after workers complete the final 2,180
feet section of the dam, which will stretch 1.4 miles and be 607 feet
high, over the next eight months, Xinhua said.
The reservoir will begin to fill next year -- with water scheduled to
rise 246 feet in 15 days -- when the first four turbines are expected
to begin generating power, although the project is not due for
completion until 2009.
By then, it will have 26 generators providing around 10 percent of
China's power and have cost $24.65 billion, according to state media.
Xinhua quoted a senior dam official as saying more than $4.8 billion
of that had been spent on a project the government says is needed to
contain the Yangtze's devastating annual floods and meet future power
Critics say the dam, planned decades ago but only begun in 1993, is
not a practical solution to either problem and could cause severe
pollution and silting by slowing the river's flow.
Cracks in the dam 8 feet deep and rumors of rampant corruption have
also plagued the project.
Given all my posts here, need I say more?