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Leak ‘partially fastened’ at Laos’ Nam Theun 1 Dam — Radio Free Asia

Dam employees in Laos are transferring to include leakage at a big hydroelectric undertaking on the Mekong River following considerations {that a} breach might result in the construction’s collapse, flooding areas downstream.

Engineers working on the Nam Theun 1 Dam, positioned in Borikhamxay province’s Pakkading district, have now “partially stopped the leak,” an worker on the Nam Theun 1 Energy Firm, the dam’s developer, advised RFA on Tuesday.

“They’re engaged on this little by little and step-by-step. Now, solely slightly little bit of water is oozing out,” RFA’s supply stated, talking on situation of anonymity as a result of he wasn’t licensed to debate the matter.

Energy officers had assured nervous residents in July {that a} video exhibiting the dam leaking water depicted solely “seepage” that might don’t have any impact on operations or security on the hydroelectric dam on a Mekong River tributary.

Video of the obvious leakage was shared on Fb on July 16, per week earlier than the fourth anniversary of the Southeast Asian nation’s worst-ever dam collapse, which killed greater than 70 individuals.

On July 23, 2018, billions of cubic ft of water from a tributary of the Mekong River poured over a collapsed saddle dam on the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydropower undertaking in Attapeu province in southern Laos.

The catastrophe worn out all or a part of 19 villages downstream, leaving 71 individuals lifeless and displacing 14,440 others.

Some nonetheless afraid

Talking to RFA, villagers residing downstream from Nam Theun 1 gave combined reactions to the information of the dam’s partial containment, with some voicing confidence within the work being completed to repair the leak, and others saying they’re afraid the dam might nonetheless collapse.

“They’re fixing the leak, so I’m not as afraid as I used to be earlier than,” stated a resident of Pakkading district’s Phonchareun village, positioned about eight kilometers under the dam. “They are saying that the leaking water was coming solely from the mountain.”

“Throughout the first two weeks of the leak, plenty of us panicked as a result of we now have seen dam breaks occur earlier than,” he stated.

“We’re not fearful anymore,” stated a resident of the district’s Phon Ngam village, residing about seven kilometers under the dam and talking like RFA’s different sources on situation of anonymity.  “I believe they’ve already fastened the leak now.”

One other villager residing slightly below the dam agreed. “I really feel safer now. I don’t know precisely what they’re fixing, however I hope that nothing will occur.”

Nonetheless, different villagers residing close to the dam nonetheless voiced concern.

“Many people usually are not fully assured within the repairs being completed,” one villager stated. “We’re always monitoring the leak and are making ready for the worst so we are able to shield ourselves in case of an emergency.”

“We’re nonetheless scared as a result of we reside under the dam,” added one other resident of Phon Ngam. “They are saying the leaking water is coming from someplace else and never from the dam, however we’re nonetheless fearful and are taking precautions,” he stated.

The Nam Theun 1 Dam is part of Laos’ plans to construct dozens of hydropower initiatives on the Mekong River and its tributaries to turn into the “Battery of Southeast Asia’ by exporting electrical energy to neighboring nations.

Although the Lao authorities sees energy era as a approach to enhance the landlocked nation’s economic system, the initiatives are controversial due to their environmental affect, displacement of villagers with out ample compensation, and questionable monetary and energy demand preparations.

Translated by RFA’s Lao Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.



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