Hydropower dam cracks pose threat to residents

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Báo Tuổi Trẻ English - 32 month(s) ago 7 readings

Hydropower dam cracks pose threat to residents

Residents in the downstream area of the Song Tranh 2 in Quang Nam Province are living in fear after cracks and water leakage were found in the dam of a hydropower plant, the reservoir of which is among the largest in central Vietnam.

w A number of cracks and water leakage have been found in the dam of the Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant in Quang Nam province Photo: Tuoi Tre

As witnessed by Tuoi Tre yesterday, water from the plant’s reservoir flowed out in strong currents from four cracks, including a large one, at the left side of the dam of the Song Tranh 2 hydropower plant, which is located in Bac Tra My District.

Meanwhile, at the lower part of the dam’s right side, a number of concrete structures have been impregnated with water from the reservoir, which is located at a height of 100 meters above the river’s stream.

The reservoir has a capacity of 730 million cubic meters of water, making it one of the top reservoirs in the central provinces.

A local man, named Hao, said, “People living at the foot of the dam are very worried about the incident. We have not been able to sleep well during these days with the looming threat of the dam.”

Nguyen Thi Tuyet, the owner of a café at the foot of the dam, said, “After everybody found out about the dam’s damage, they began living in great worry. Over the past few days we have been more anxious about safety problems after feeling rumblings from the dam.”

Vu Duc Toan, deputy director of the Hydropower Management Board 3, under the Electricity Group of Vietnam, the investor of the plant, said such cracks and water leakage are within acceptable limits and have been controlled.

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Two workers from the hydropower plant trying to seal the cracks at the dam's body on March 17, 2012 (Photo: Tuoi Tre)

However, four small earthquakes have previously been reported in the district, and the worrying phenomenon of the cracks has been blamed on the water storage for the reservoir.

Talking with Tuoi Tre, Nguyen Kim Son, deputy secretary of the district Party’s Committee, said that “according to the design, the body of the dam has a very durable structure, so water leakage is abnormal. I have phoned the hydropower management board and asked them for an explanation of the problem. Toan said he would review the situation and would report in a few days.”

Work on the 190 MW plant began in March 2006 with a total investment of nearly VND5.2 trillion (nearly US$250 million), and its two turbines have generated electricity for the national grid since late 2010.

As for the dam’s body, its construction was started on March 15, 2007 by the Irrigation Construction Corporation No. 4, which had won the bid for the work.

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