(July 6, 2012) Experts fear a proposed dam cascade slated for the Jinsha River, a tributary of the upper Yangtze River, could spell disaster. Reports on dam construction in western China’s seismic hazard zones and the risks of over-damming, released by Probe International earlier this year, are highlighted.
(April 27, 2011) In the world of engineering, standards are the foundation on which everything else rests. An investigation following a catastrophic explosion at Russia’s largest hydropower station in the summer of 2009 revealed poor management and technical flaws to be at the root of the dam’s failure. A repaired turbine almost at the end of its life span, taken offline again because it still didn’t work, was forced back into service in an emergency: a move that would cost 75 people their lives. This Popular Mechanics investigation asks whether the United States, a country with hundreds of hydro plants in operation, might also be at risk of a Russian-style dam disaster. U.S. experts say not likely: the two countries are separated philosophically when it comes to safety and human life.