Expert proposes canceling Pak Lay dam construction

17-Jan-2019 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The construction of Laos-based hydropower dam Pak Lay should be canceled due to poor reports and statistics on the project, Dr Le Anh Tuan, vice director of Research Institute for Climate Change of Can Tho University, said on January 15.

Speaking at a consultation conference held in Can Tho City on the construction of the Pak Lay dam project, Tuan noted that Laos had earlier shown little concern for Vietnam’s objections and feedback when it built the three hydropower dams of Xayaburi, Don Sahong and Pak Beng. Therefore, Tuan remarked, the country’s consultation seemed to be unimportant in Laos’ decision.

Tuan cited assessments from the Mekong River Commission as saying that reports on the hydropower Pak Lay dam project, focusing on the alluvial amount, water sources, ecosystem and fish, contained incomplete and baseless statistics and information and were generally weak. As such, Tuan stated that it was necessary to cancel the project, insisting that a proposal for fixing and supplementing the information and statistics was unreasonable.

“I am disappointed in our side’s decision on the proposal to amend the reports when all assessments show results are lagging far behind standards,” Tuan said, adding that given the poor results, cancellation should be proposed for the project.

Tuan also highlighted some weaknesses of the Pak Lay hydropower project on the Mekong mainstream, such as its impact on fish locomotion in the Mekong River as the dam is expected to have a height of hundreds of meters.

In addition, Tuan rejected the use of ecofriendly turbines in the operation of the dam, stressing that these turbines were not available.

Tuan said the report by the Mekong River Commission also lacked an impact assessment for the proposed Pak Lay dam in particular and Laos’ hydropower dams in general, particularly in terms of plans for the socioeconomic development of riparian countries and for climate change adaptation.

Vietnam Rivers Network and its members had earlier refused to participate in a consultation meeting on the construction of the Laos-based hydropower dam, which was held in Vientiane, Laos, in September last year.

The Pak Lay hydropower dam project is expected to have an output of 770 megawatts of electricity, with 14 generators to be installed.


Category: Business, Vietnam

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