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Cofferdam in Three Gorges Ready for Blasting
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Demolition experts yesterday finished setting the explosives that will be used to demolish the last cofferdam built during the construction of the Three Gorges Dam in central China.

A total 192 tons of dynamite was placed in more than 1,700 locations, said Song Ling, general manager of the Chongqing Gezhouba Yipuli Chemical Co, who is in charge of the demolition project.

Song said the next step is to build a detonator network. The cofferdam is scheduled to be brought down early next week.

"This operation has no precedent in the world and requires precision techniques to demolish the cofferdam without damaging the main dam," Zhou Guisong, deputy chief engineer of the Chongqing Gezhouba Yipuli Chemical Co, said earlier.

The cofferdam, which has been in use since 2003, is 114 meters upstream of the Three Gorges Dam. It is 580 meters long and 140 meters high.

The Three Gorges Dam was completed on May 20, and the demolition of the cofferdam means the mammoth project in Hubei Province will formally begin its role in flood control, two years ahead of the schedule.

The China Three Gorges Project Corporation said last month that the dam would help prevent flooding on the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, along with supplying China with much-needed electricity.

The 185-meter-high dam will be capable of holding 22.15 billion cubic meters of water. Its level will be maintained at 175 meters at most times when the project is fully completed by the end of 2008.

(Xinhua News Agency June 3, 2006)

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