The Three Gorges Dam - Disaster or end to Disaster?

Essay by jspearmintJunior High, 9th gradeA-, March 2004

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The Three Gorges Dam - Disaster or End to Disaster?

The Three Gorges Dam, on the Yangtse River in China, is probably one of the largest and most ambitious building projects ever undertaken. Situated near Yichang, in the central province of Hubei, the dam will be the largest in the world, and will, in the words of the Chinese government "confirm China's technological prowess and the superiority of socialism". The Dam will be over 2km long and 185m high, the world's largest piece of concrete on the world's biggest building site, creating a reservoir that will stretch back 660km along the river. The scope of the dam, and everything about it, is enormous. The impact of the dam will be colossal and far-reaching, thanks to its many benefits and disadvantages. The project is set to be finished by the year 2009, and the world waits with trepidation for its completion and possible effects.

The dam has a number of purposes, namely the production of hydroelectric power, and the subsequent economic growth due to this, improvements in navigation on the Yangtse, and greater control over floodwaters and flooding downriver.

Cheap Hydroelectric power could be a very good thing for China, a country that has relied heavily on power from coal for many years. This clean power source could set an example to other countries, encouraging them to find alternative power sources instead of depending so much on fossil fuels. However, if the dam was to prove a failure, then it might discourage other countries from building hydroelectric dams, and possibly other renewable energy sources. Either way, the dam could set an example for developing countries and how nations across the world obtain their energy. The new, cheap power could also provide massive incentive for economic growth in China. Large amounts...