Three Gorges Probe

Three Gorges Probe

(October 30, 2000)

(1) China proposes nuclear blasts to build world’s largest hydro project
(2) Three Gorges dam environmentally friendly, officials say

(1) China proposes nuclear blasts to build world’s largest hydro project
Oct. 22, 2000 – The U.K.-based Electronic Telegraph reports that Chinese leaders are drawing up plans to use nuclear explosions to blast a tunnel through the Himalayas for the world’s biggest hydroelectric plant. The proposed power station is forecast to produce twice as much electricity as the 18,000-megawatt Three Gorges dam and is scheduled to begin construction as soon as the Three Gorges dam is completed in 2009. If, as experts believe, China has to use nuclear materials to blast a 10-mile tunnel through Tibet’s Mount Namcha Barwa for a 38,000 – megawatt power station at Muotuo on Tibet’s Yarlung Zangbo river, the country will attract international opprobrium for breaching the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, says the Electronic Telegraph. But China will also have to overcome fierce opposition from neighbouring countries, such as India and Vietnam, which fear that the scheme could endanger the lives of millions of their people. Critics say that people living downstream would be at the mercy of Chinese dam officials who would be able to flood them or withhold their water supply. International opposition may bar Beijing from World Bank loans for the project and prevent it from listing bonds and shares on world markets to fund the scheme.
Related news story: China planning nuclear blasts to build giant hydro project

(2) Three Gorges dam environmentally friendly, officials say
Sept. 19, 2000 – China Daily reported that Chinese officials have promised the Three Gorges dam project will be environmentally friendly and will not destroy ecological systems in the Yangtze river area. Responding to fears that the project will harm the environment along the world’s third longest river, Lu Youmei, general manager of the Three Gorges Corporation, said the dam’s reservoir “will never be turned into a huge cesspool as some foreigners have warned.” Addressing a Three Gorges project workshop in Beijing last month, Lu Youmei, along with other project officials, admitted that there are some disadvantages in the construction design for the environment but, Mr. Lu added, “China, is able to mitigate the negative effects they may have.” He said the government had worked out rules to ensure sewage was treated before it entered the Yangtze and to prohibit the build-up of rubbish along the river’s banks. In addition to closing down hundreds of polluting enterprises and factories along the river, the government spent US$87-million last year on a forest belt on the Yangtze’s upper reaches in an effort to conserve soil and improve water quality.
Related news story: Project will not damage Yangtze’s ecosystems

Three Gorges Probe welcomes submissions. However, it is not a forum for political debate. Rather, Three Gorges Probe is dedicated to covering the scientific, technical, economic, social, and environmental ramifications of completing the Three Gorges Project, as well as the alternatives to the dam.

Publisher: Patricia Adams, Executive Editor: Mu Lan, Assistant Editor: Lisa Peryman, October 30, 2000

ISSN 1481-0913

Categories: Three Gorges Probe

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