Gate installation begins at Laos’ 1,285-MW Xayaburi hydropower plant

Xayaburi Hydropower Plant

The first “significant” hydraulic steel structures are now being installed at the 1,285-MW Xayaburi hydroelectric plant in Laos, consulting engineers KGAL and Whesseo report.

The pieces include a three pairs of 320 tonne, 12×30 meter lock mitre gates, each with integral balancing and fish attraction sluice gates. Each of the gate leaves was transported two miles from an on-site manufacturing facility to the lock site in two pieces, where they were assembled in the lock.

Four outlet radial gates were also installed into the lower level of the project’s spillway structure. Each of the gates has a span of 12×16 meter gates has a designed head of 37 meters and weighs 400 tonnes.

Each of the gates were designed by KGAL’s office in the United Kingdom, with full seismic assessments meeting International Commission on Large Dam (ICOLD) standards. Workshop drawings were then prepared by Whesseo’s Manila office before being approved by KGAL and released for production at the Xayaburi work site.

“This is a significant change in the approach to gate manufacture,” KGAL director Dave Griffiths said. “It is usual for gates to be manufactured off-site and transported long distances to the project. In the case of Xayaburi, Whessoe decided to create an integrated manufacturing facility on the site, complete with CNC machining and painting facilities specifically designed and procured to deal with the very large gates on this project.”

The US$3.5 billion Xayaburi plant is the first of 11 projects proposed for the Lower Mekong River and part of Laos’ plan to become the “battery of the region”. reported in November 2012 that the Poyry Energy Business Group had been selected to supervise the plant’s construction.

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Michael Harris formerly was Editor for

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