China finally admits Its Three Gorges Dam has ‘deformed slightly’ but claims it happened over the weekend, ignoring reports this happened long ago.
The Asian Times reported yesterday:
In a rare revelation, Beijing has admitted that its 2.4-kilometer Three Gorges Dam spanning the Yangtze River in Hubei province “deformed slightly” after record flooding.
The official Xinhua News Agency quoted the operator of the the world’s largest hydroelectric gravity dam as saying that some nonstructural, peripheral parts of the dam had buckled.
The dam was a pet project of the late Premier Li Peng and a monumental pride of the nation when it blocked and diverted Asia’s largest river in 1997.
The deformation occurred last Saturday when the flood from western provinces including Sichuan and Chongqing along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River peaked at a record-setting 61,000 cubic meters per second, according to China Three Gorges Corporation, a state-owned enterprise that manages the dam and the sprawling power plant underneath it.
The company noted that parts of the dam had “deformed slightly,” displacing some external structures, and seepage into the main outlet walls had also been reported throughout the 18 hours on Saturday and Sunday when water was discharged though its outlets.
One week ago the Asian Review reported:
…Zhang Jianping, an activist in Jiangsu, is skeptical.
“With hindsight, I think that all those experts who opposed the buildings of the Three Gorges were right,” Zhang said on Radio Free Asia. “Since it was built, it has never played a role in preventing flooding or droughts, like we thought it would back then.”
Despite protests by residents and environmentalists, the Three Gorges Dam was completed in 2006 after a 12-year build. Millions were displaced as an area of about 600 kilometers was submerged to create the world’s largest dam and hydroelectricity facilities.
However, two weeks ago we reported China’s massive Three Gorges Dam is at risk of blowing, putting 400 million people at risk. The problem is that China once claimed the dam would withstand a 10,000 year flood, then a 1,000 year flood and now only a 100 year flood. Then in 2018 it was reported online that pictures show that the Three Gorges Dam has moved:
An expert on the region’s food supply, Geoff Quartermaine Bastin, provided this analysis regarding the impact on the world’s food supply should the massive dam break:
The collapse of the TGD would destroy all the cropland and livestock downstream, destroy major cities such as Wuhan and could threaten Shanghai. It would affect the Grand Canal systems and so spill over into the Yellow River Region. I’m not going to quantify the damage, it’s very clear that the collapse would be catastrophic.
But not just to China. The country already is a net food importer. Without soybeans from Brazil and the USA and wheat from Australia and Europe and the US, China cannot feed its livestock let alone its human population. The collapse of the TGD would perhaps be the single largest disaster that could affect the world’s food security because aside from the immediate disaster there would be enormous upward pressure on food prices, putting essential staples out of reach of hundreds of millions of people outside China.
The point here is that anyone concerned about food anywhere should want to think through what they might do if the TGD failed.