Archive for November 22nd, 2007


Three Gorges Not That Bad


Sun Yatsen first proposed building a dam on the Yangtze River in 1919 for power generation purposes, but the idea was shelved due to unfavorable political and economic conditions. The following decades witnessed much discussion and disagreement on many aspects of this monumental project. In spite of this, the project was approved and work began in 1992. With an estimated cost of between US $25-75 billion, this is reported to be the largest construction project in the world. 40% of the project cost is associated with relocating the towns and villages along the river, necessitated by the increase in the river height when the reservoir is filled. When completed, the hydroelectric generating capabilities will be about 18 gigawatts (18 x 10^9), approximately equal to the electricity produced by 18 nuclear reactors or burning 40 million tons of coal. Even though we’re talking about relocating towns and villages (about 1.3 million folks) and the flooding of an amazing amount of land (how about a nearly 400 mile long new reservoir?), Wang Xiaofeng, director of the dam’s construction committee, said that the impact “is not as severe as predicted“. Yikes. Of course, it’s water powered (forget about all the crap that’s spewed to build the thing) and the government says that it’s the right thing to do, so there