Three Gorges Dam Project
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The Three Gorges
Dam Construction Fund
As planned, the capacity of Three Gorges dam, 17 million kilowatts, will top that of the largest dam currently operating by 40 percent. Its projected annual power generation of 84 billion kilowatt-hours is equivalent to a coal mine capacity of 40 to 50 million tons per year. The project will supply power mainly to the central China grid of Hubei, Hunan, Henen, and Jiangsu, and Anhui. It will cost (in 1990 prices) as estimated RMB 57 billion ($ 10.57 billion). Once completed, the dam will be 185 meters high and store 39.3 billion cubic meters of water. It will create a reservoir 36 miles long and 525 feet deep.
Supporters say the
benefits of the project far outweigh the costs. The principal advantage
of the project is to generate power to keep pace with China's economic
growth. It is estimated that China's power output must rise by 8 percent
annually to keep pace
Chinese officials note that the dam will relieve the danger of flooding. The Chang Jiang River Valley has been chronically threatened by flooding. For example, in 1954, a flood killed 30.000 people and left one million homeless. In addition, navigation capacities on the river from Yichang to Chongging will be improved, thus, 10.000 tons fleets can make direct trips.
of the dam is to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide;
generating electricity equal to about 40 million tons of coal. China's
growing coal consumption poses a huge threat to the environment. Coal
burning emits several harmful
In April 1992, the National People's Congress approved the construction of the Chang Jiang River, the world's third largest river, as part of China's 10-year development program. The project has four goals: to prevent flooding of the navigation on the river, and to generate power for the surrounding communities. It consists of three parts: a dam, a hydropower station and navigation facilities.
The impact to international trade is indirect, but nonetheless, important. The construction of the hydroelectric dam requires umerous international inputs, such as machinery and hydraulic equipment. Moreover, the generated power of 17 million kilowatts will be used for industry to boost outputs. The ground breaking began December, 1994, but the resettlement of residents had begun two years before that. The full-scale construction is currently underway and the projected completion date is 15 years away in the year 2010.
In April 1992, the
plan was formally endorsed by the National People's Congress (NPC). It
is believed that the project will alter the entire ecological system and
environment in the area. Not only will it divert the river's natural course,
but it will also reclaim hundreds of acres of land that is the habitat
for many species.
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