China's Dams

Officials from China’s Three Gorges Corporation visit troubled U.S. lock

(June 19, 2013) Officials from China’s Three Gorges Corporation and Project Construction Committee (TGPCC) paid a visit earlier this month to the troubled U.S. Chickamauga Lock in Tennessee as part of an information sharing exchange organized by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) — responsible for the operation and maintenance of navigation locks on the Tennessee River. TGPCC, established by China’s State Council to oversee construction of the massive Three Gorges Dam project, has concerns regarding its own ship locks: some 733 cracks were reported to have appeared in the east and westbound channels of the Three Gorges dam’s five-step shiplock, along with a worrisome distortion that may have been caused by crustal plate movement, among other issues. The dam’s ambitious and intensely complex ship lift, slated for completion in 2015, has yet to be tested.

Officials from China’s Three Gorges Corporation visit Chickamauga Lock

By Fred Tucker, published by DVIDS (Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System) on June 7, 2013

Officials from China’s Three Gorges Corporation and Project Construction Committee pose for a photograph after briefings on navigation lock construction, operations, maintenance and agency partnerships by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District personnel and a tour of Chickamauga Lock, June 7, 2013. From left, Jamie James, Nashville District project manager, New Chickamauga Lock; Qiu Shuang, translator; Zhou Xianzheng, director, Technology and Equipment Division; Cao Guangrong, deputy director, Construction and Operation Management Bureau; Alex Wyss, Knoxville Nature Conservancy; Lt. Col. Patrick Dagon, Nashville District deputy commander; Cheng Guo-Qiang, secretary-general, Development Research Center, State Council, Peoples Republic of China; and Xu Chuanzhou, senior engineer, Three Gorges Construction and Operation Management Bureau. (USACE photo by Fred Tucker).

Officials from China’s Three Gorges Corporation and Project Construction Committee pose for a photograph after briefings on navigation lock construction, operations, maintenance and agency partnerships by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District personnel and a tour of Chickamauga Lock, June 7, 2013. From left, Jamie James, Nashville District project manager, New Chickamauga Lock; Qiu Shuang, translator; Zhou Xianzheng, director, Technology and Equipment Division; Cao Guangrong, deputy director, Construction and Operation Management Bureau; Alex Wyss, Knoxville Nature Conservancy; Lt. Col. Patrick Dagon, Nashville District deputy commander; Cheng Guo-Qiang, secretary-general, Development Research Center, State Council, Peoples Republic of China; and Xu Chuanzhou, senior engineer, Three Gorges Construction and Operation Management Bureau. (USACE photo by Fred Tucker).

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — A group of officials from China’s Three Gorges Corporation and Project Construction Committee were briefed on navigation lock construction, operations, maintenance and agency partnerships by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District personnel at Chickamauga Lock, June 7, 2013.

“The delegation’s visit provided the Nashville District and the Tennessee Valley Authority an opportunity to share information about our operations that we anticipate will help the Three Gorges team as they continue to develop their infrastructure,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Dagon, deputy district engineer.

The exchange was a valuable continuation of the two countries’ initiative to share information about infrastructure development and maintenance, according to Dagon.

“This group was particularly interested in how the partnership works between the Tennessee Valley Authority which owns the dams, hydropower plants and navigation locks on the Tennessee River and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, which operates and maintains the navigation locks,” said Jamie James, Nashville District project manager for Chickamauga New Lock Construction.

Lana Bean, manager, Operations Evaluation River Operations & Renewables represented TVA at the briefing.

“Our sources for construction funding [Congressionally-appropriated, and from the Inland Waterways Trust Fund], and the average number of employees required to operate and maintain a lock were also areas of interest,” James added.

The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, located in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, China. The Three Gorges Dam is the world’s largest power station in terms of installed capacity (22,500 MW). In the year of 2012, the amount of electricity the dam generated is neck to neck with the Itaipu Dam.

Except for a ship lift, the dam project was completed and fully functional as of July 4, 2012, When the last of the main turbines in the underground plant began production. Each main turbine has a capacity of 700 MW. The dam body was completed in 2006. Coupling the dam’s 32 main turbines with two smaller generators (50 MW each) to power the plant itself, the total electric generating capacity of the dam is 22,500 MW.

As well as producing electricity, the dam is intended to increase the Yangtze River’s shipping capacity and reduce the potential for floods downstream by providing flood storage space. The Chinese government regards the project as a historic engineering, social and economic success, with the design of state-of-the-art large turbines, and a move toward limiting greenhouse gas emissions. However, the dam flooded archaeological and cultural sites and displaced some 1.3 million people, and is causing significant ecological changes, including an increased risk of landslides. The dam has been a controversial topic both domestically and abroad. According to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_gorges_dam

The Chickamauga Lock visit was coordinated through USACE headquarters to share knowledge and technology through briefings and to build alliances for mutual benefit.

As engineering knowledge and technology were being shared between among engineers of the two countries in Chattanooga, President Barack Obama and China’s new President, Xi Jinping were beginning a two-day meeting at Rancho Mirage, Calif.

The original version of this article is available at the publisher’s website here.

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