China Environmental News Digest

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Three Gorges Dam unaffected by the earthquake in Jiangxi

Shanghai. November 28 INTERFAX-CHINA-The world's largest hydropower facility, the Three Gorges Dam, has not been affected by an earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale, which struck eastern Jiangxi Province on November 26. Officials confirmed to Interfax on Monday that the dam has not been affected.

"The earthquake hasn't affected the Three Gorges Dam," said Zhou Mingli, an expert with the General Office of Hubei Province Seismological Bureau. Hubei, where the dam is based, is to the northwest of Jiangxi- where the earthquake struck.

"The dam is designed with capabilities to avoid affects from earthquake measuring [up to] 6 on the Richter scale. As the world's largest hydropower facility, given full consideration it has been made to avoid large-scale disasters, " said Zhou.

Zhou added that the earthquake in a neighboring province did not "very much" affect Yichang City, where is the project based, "Hubei's capital Wuhan is the city most affected by the earthquake in Jiangxi. Most people there felt the earthquake," said Zhou, "so far one death in Hubei was reported."

An official with Yichang based China Three Gorges Project Corporation, the project owner, also told Interfax she hardly felt the earthquake in Jiangxi and the project is unlikely to be damaged.

The earthquake hit Jiujiang City in northern Jiangxi Province early November 26, and killed 14 people in total by 2 pm that afternoon, with 20 severely injured and more than 18,000 houses damaged, according to the latest figures from the State Seismological Bureau.

"The largest scale was measured at 5.7 and there were more than 200 aftershocks. People in northern Hubei, southern Anhui, northwestern Zhejiang and northeastern Hunan felt the earthquake," an official with State Seismological Bureau said, who declined to be named.

Seismological bureaus in Jiangxi, Hubei and Fujian have established urgent working groups at the site and are conducting research.

Hui Liangyu, the vice premier of the State Council, ordered all relevant government institutions to launch emergency rescue operations and inspections to reduce damage as much as possible.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao expressed his concern for local people in Jiangxi Province via a phone call to Meng Jianzhu, the Secretary of the Jiangxi Provincial Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on Saturday after the earthquake hit.

The Three Gorges Project is expected to produce a total of 50 bln kWh this year, with the thirteen units on the left bank all generating power. The project has already generated 25.219 bln kWh in the first seven months of this year, and 7.147 bln kWh has been sold to the Central China power grid, 9.867 bln kWh to the Eastern China power grid and 8.205 kWh to the Southern China power grid.

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