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Construction of Qinghai-Tibet Railway Proceeding Smoothly
Significant achievements have been made in the course of building the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, especially in the areas of ecological and environmental protection and labor security, said Fu Zhihuan, minister of railways, at a press conference here on Friday.

Fu said that solutions have been found for the three major technical problems in the construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, namely, the perma-frost earth, the lack of oxygen at high altitudes and the challenge of ensuring environmental protection.

The total length of the Golmud-Lhasa portion of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is 1,110 kilometers, of which nearly half runs through perma-frost earth. After 40 years of research, the problem has been solved, Fu said.

In addition, a 960 kilometers section of the railway is located at an altitude of 4,000 meters above sea level. Fu said that every effort has been made to ensure the safety of workers, and thus far,there have been no casualties resulting from the high altitude.

He said the ecological environment along the new railway is fragile, and thus, during the entire process of rail design and construction, special attention has been paid to environmental protection.

According to sources from the ministry, by last month, 5.95 billion yuan (US$71.94 million) had been invested in the project. With respect to the laying of tracks for the Golmud-Mount Kunlun section, which began in June, 97.3 kilometers have been completed thus far. Engineering work on the Mount Kunlun-Mount Tanggula section, on perma-frost earth, has also begun. The quality of the work completed to date has been assessed quite favorably.

(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2002)

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