Thursday, April 30

Big reason China raced a search and rescue team to Nepal: Chinese workers trapped at hydropower dam

 Circle of Blue reports April 30:  Nepal Earthquake Damages Hydropower Dam:  Workers rescued from dam under construction by a Chinese company near the quake’s epicenter.

By Keith Schneider
Circle of Blue

China is mounting an arduous mission today to rescue 250 workers trapped at a hydropower station under construction near the epicenter of the earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25, according to Xinhua, the China Central Government news agency.

The condition of two more existing hydropower stations is not known, said Nepal authorities.Hydroworld, an industry trade magazine, reported that the 144-megawatt Kaligandaki hydroelectric power station and 22.1-megawatt Chilime hydropower plant “may have been affected according to news reports from the area.” The two facilities have not been visited by inspectors.

Kaligandaki, Nepal’s largest hydropower plant, is about 300 kilometers (187 miles) west of Kathmandu near Mirmi in Syangja District. Chilime is in the district of Rasuwa, which is 133 kilometers (83 miles) north of Kathmandu.

The China Three Gorges Company said on its website that the huge earthquake, which registered 7.9 on the Richter scale, caused serious damage to the 111-megawatt Rasuwagadhi Hydropower station, which it started to build two years ago 67 kilometers (41 miles) west of the quake’s epicenter. The company reported that two workers were killed in the quake and several were seriously injured. On April 28, a child and 24 other people were airlifted by helicopter to nearby Jilung County in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, according to the quake relief headquarters in Jilung.

All roads to the dam are cut off, the company said in a statement, and food supplies are running low.

I'm going to break off there because I'm just not in the mood today to read about Indian and Chinese plans to use Nepal's hydropower 'capacity' but I'll pass along this zinger from the report:

"Nepal can free India of its darkness with its electricity,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Clearly highest-ranking Indian and Chinese officials have confused Nepal with South Africa.

The irony is that unlike their leaders, Indians who neighbor Nepal's treacherous mountain terrain have their heads screwed on straight.  To return to Schneider for another zinger:
Concerns about earthquakes, floods, and huge landslides also prompted a powerful opposition movement in Arunachal Pradesh, a Himalayan state in neighboring India, that halted construction of the 2,000-megawatt Lower Subansiri dam in 2010.
Go read the entire report, if you're in the mood for a really sick cartoon.


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