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Three Gorges Dam is Full; Earthquake Risks Increased
Posted by Eric Lander on October 28, 2010 6:10 AM
"It's like dipping a piece of bread in milk. The deeper you go, the more difficult it is to hold on," Fan said.
The unprecedented mass of water also increases the risk of earthquakes, he said.Yang Yong, a Sichuan-based geologist, clarifies Fan's warning:, "When the dam reaches 574 feet (the capacity mark achieved Tuesday), it will push the region's geological instability to the fringe of catastrophe."
Three Gorges' revealed its shortcomings when floodwaters raced into the dam's 400-mile-long reservoir in July, prompting a government official to admit that the dam's flood-control capacity "is not unlimited."Thousands of tons of garbage also accumulated amid the heavy rains, threatening to block the locks of the dam.
When approved in 1992, the dam's original cost was estimated at $8.3 billion. That figure has risen to approximately $27 billion by Beijing's estimate, while other predictions make the final cost at $88 billion.
The project received additional funding Wednesday when China Development Bank announced that it would lend more than $11 billion to China Three Gorges Corp., developer of the dam, over the next five years, Xinhua reports.