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Last Leg of Work on Main Three Gorges Dam Wall
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The final phase of concrete placement for the main part of the mammoth Three Gorges Dam started at 4:00 AM on Friday in the middle section of the Yangtze River, the longest in China. 


The work is due to finish on Saturday, which will mark the completion of the dam's main wall. 


The 185-meter-high and 2,309-meter-long dam, often compared to the Great Wall in scale, is the world's largest dam built with a total of 28 million cubic meters (m3) of reinforced concrete. The last placement involves 1,017.5 m3 of concrete. 


The dam's main wall will measure 184.8 meters in height. The remaining 0.2 meters has been reserved for building a highway on the top of the dam.  


Situated near the Xiling Gorge, the easternmost gorge of the Three Gorges, the Three Gorges Project is the largest water control project in the world.



Initially envisioned by Sun Yat-sen, the forerunner of China's democratic revolution, in 1918, the project underwent protracted discussion before it was approved by the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, in 1992. 


Launched in 1993, the Three Gorges Project, with an estimated investment of 203.9 billion yuan (US$25.2 billion), will have 26 generators with a combined generating capacity of 18.2 million kilowatts. The entire project is scheduled for completion in 2009 and will have a power-generating capability of 84.7 billion kwh of electricity annually. 



The Three Gorges, -- Qutang, Wuxia and Xiling Gorges -- extend for about 200 kms along the upper reaches of the Yangtze. They have become a popular world-class tourist destination noted for their beautiful natural landscapes and historical and cultural relics. 


Apart from generating clean energy, other functions of the landscape-altering mega project, with a designed water storage capacity of 39.3 billion m3, include harnessing floods and enhancing the shipping industry. 


A total of 1.13 million people have been relocated as a result of the project. 


(Xinhua News Agency May 19, 2006)


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