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Laos Dam Leaks Normal, Says Thai Partner

Source: Bangkok Post

Reported leaks at the sides of the Nam Theun 1 Hydropower dam under construction in Laos were not a cause for concern and were normal when a dam began storing water, Electricity Generating Plc president Thepparat Theppitak said on Monday.

EGCO, a subsidiry of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, has a 25% stake in the project.

The company president was responding to reports of the leakage and worries expressed on social media over the weekend.

Mr Thepparat said such leaks were normal when a dam started to store water.

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During the construction of a roller-compacted concrete dam, water could be found leaking from the rocky crevices in the side walls, he said.

“It is regularly inspected to ensure its security during preparation for a test-run before its commercial operation in August,” ECGO said in its statement to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

The leaks had no effect on the main construction and safety of dam, it said. 

Mr Thepparat said the dam was well designed and constructed and met engineering standards. EGCO had a 25% stake in the project with a contracted capacity of generating 644.30 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

The project was in the last stage of development and was in compliance with international standards and the dam’s structure was sturdy and secure, he said.

Nam Theun 1 is a hydroelectric power plant under construction in Bolikhamxay province of Laos.

The US$1.3 billion project is a joint venture of Phonesack Group (PSG) with a 60% stake, EGCO with 25%, and Electricite Du Laos (EDL) with 15%.

Construction started in 2017 and it began storing water in June last year.

The hydroelectric facility is expected to produce up to 2,638 gigawatt-hours  of electricity a year.

State-run power utility Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand signed a long-term power purchase agreement to take 514.3MW of electricity from the project in September 2017.

EDL has a separate agreement to purchase 130MW of electricity from the dam.