Lao gov't to check dam safety to avoid accidents in 2019-2020

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-30 11:26:50|Editor: Yamei
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VIENTIANE, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- The Lao government will begin inspecting the safety standards applied to the construction of all hydropower dams in Laos next year in a bid to prevent further accidents.

This information was revealed during a recent meeting in Vientiane on the safety standards of the nation's many hydropower plants, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Friday.

"We will carry out inspections to examine the safety standards applied to the construction of all dams in Laos from 2019 to 2020," The report quoted Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Sinnava Souphanouvong as saying.

The inspections will cover design and construction along with the administration of sustainable production and safety at all hydropower dams.

The checks have been instituted following a devastating flood caused by a fracture in a saddle dam at the Xe--Pian Xe--Namnoy hydropower plant which wiped out villages in Attapeu province, some 560 km southeast of capital Vientiane.

Dams that are inspected by authorities can continue construction or operations as long as they are shown to meet safety standards.

The Lao government recently suspended the consideration of new hydropower projects until it has reviewed safety standards, as well as its dam development strategy and plans for the future.

The recent hydropower--related tragedies led to hearings in the National Assembly on safety standards at hydropower projects and promises by the government to inspect such projects and cancel those failing to meet set standards.

According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Laos has plans for hydropower development project a total installed capacity of 5,500MW by 2020 and a further 20,000MW is planned after 2020. More than 50 hydropower plants in the country are expected to be operational by 2025.