is that preliminary work, known as santongyiping (三通一平), can only
commence once a feasibility study has been approved. Construction on the
project itself cannot officially start until an Environmental Impact
Assessment (EIA) is completed and approved. However, the billions of USD
invested into the preliminary work would represent a significant risk to
the State-Owned Enterprise that undertakes the project, so it's unlikely
for a project that has started such preliminary work to be reassessed.
The former President of the Three Gorges Corp. Lu Youmei (the enterprise
responsible for the Xiaonanhai Dam) has stated that this is an important
flaw in China's policy-making process for hydropower projects.]
Work begins on final Three Gorges dam
March 30, 2012
CHINA'S Three Gorges Corp yesterday began construction of a dam that
will flood the last free-flowing portion of the middle reaches of the
Yangtze, the country's longest river.
A ceremony was held to commence early-stage preparation, including
building a road and laying power lines and water pipes for the
Xiaonanhai dam, said spokesman Zhu Guangming.
"Construction of the dam itself will begin only after we get final
approval," Zhu said, declining to give cost estimates.
"The government will give due consideration to all aspects including
environmental impact before issuing a permit."
The 30 billion yuan (US$4.75 billion) dam would be the last in a series
of 12 dams along the Yangtze, the rest of which are all completed or
The series will stretch inland from the Three Gorges Dam, which has
created an inland reservoir more than 600 kilometers long that has
allowed the city of Chongqing to develop into an inland port. When
completed, the Xiaonanhai dam is designed to produce 1.76 gigawatts, a
fraction of the 22.50GW that the Three Gorges Dam will produce when it
reaches full capacity.
The National Development and Reform Commission has issued preliminary
China wants to raise installed power capacity by 470GW to 1,437GW by
2015? the largest in the world. At least 110GW of the new capacity will
be from hydro power - equivalent to five Three Gorges hydropower
projects. Current hydropower capacity is 216GW, also the world's largest.
The Three Gorges Dam is the world's biggest power project and was
controversial well before it began construction in 1994.
Objections ranged from the destruction of rare species to the flooding
of historic towns and displacement of millions of people, to concerns it
would quickly silt up and lose efficiency.
In January, China's environment ministry told hydropower developers they
must "put ecology first" and pay strict attention to the impact of their
projects on local rivers and communities.
The Xiaonanhai dam is decried by environmentalists because it will flood
a nature reserve designed to protect about 40 species of river fish.
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