Three Gorges Probe
November 7, 1997
As engineers prepare to divert the Yangtze River and build a temporary coffer dam, longtime concerns raised by international experts are becoming technical problems at China’s Three Gorges dam site.
An independent engineers’ study released this week reports a number of serious construction problems: silt is building up in the temporary ship lock canal faster than expected boulders are falling off the diversion channel walls the temporary dams and dykes have not been designed to withstand a severe flood or earthquakes.
The study, prepared by US-based Sklar-Luers & Associates, states that “sedimentation is likely to compromise the operation of the dam much sooner and more decisively than anticipated (as it has already in the diversion channel).”
Probe International, a longtime critic of Three Gorges, warns that the technical problems place the lives and property of millions of people downstream in jeopardy. Commenting on the US engineers’ findings, Patricia Adams, Executive Director of Probe International, says “the degree to which the dam’s engineers are tampering with peoples’ safety would never be tolerated in Canada. Canadian engineers would lose their licences if they built substandard coffer dams and dykes.”
Canada’s Export Development Corporation is providing a $153 million line of credit for procurement of General Electric Canada’s turbines.
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