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Ministry draws up plan to inspect dams every five years

Laos is preparing a nationwide hydropower inspection procedure which will be carried out every five years to ensure safety and the maintenance of standards.
Director General of the Department of Energy Management, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Mr Bouathep Malaykham, told Vientiane Times on Tuesday that in the next few years the system will be complete and put into use.

The procedure will ensure that dams are closely inspected and are operating in compliance with the law and government policy.
The country’s first comprehensive inspection of dams was carried out a few years ago to monitor the standard of dam construction. Future inspections will now be undertaken every five years.
There are currently 78 operational hydropower plants with a combined installed capacity of 9,972MW.
According to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, dam builders have to enhance safety systems, both for existing and under-construction dams.
Existing dams are under review and more are being built under the guidance of international experts, which has led to Laos gaining membership in the International Commission on Large Dams.The commission now has 104 member countries.
According to the ministry,the Lao Association on Dams has been officially recognised as a member of the commission.
Mr Bouathep said the ministry carries out checks of dams before and after the rainy season each year, and sometimes when earthquakes are reported.
At the end of last year, Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Dr Sinava Souphanouvong visited several hydropower plants in southern Laos to monitor their safety and inspect the operators’ preparedness to respond to emergencies.
 He visited the Xe-Pian Xe-Namnoy dam, the Nam Kong 1 and Nam Kong 3dams, the Sahong dam, and the Lower Houay Lamphan dam. He also plans to visit dams in the north of the country in the near future.
In addition to hydropower plants, there is a coal-fired power plant as well asfour biomass power plants and six solar power plants.
Numerous dams are being built on rivers in Laos, with a target of 100 to be constructed by 2030.
The Ministry of Energy and Mines is putting in place enhanced measures and standards for dam safety as the government steps up energy generation for the sale of electricity to foreign trading partners.
Electricity is one of Laos’ main income earners, mainly through the sale of energy to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.


By Khonesavanh Latsaphao
(Latest Update
January 20,

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