Nepal’s 456-MW Upper Tamakoshi hydroelectric project suffers “settlement”

Nepal’s Electricity Authority has released a list of earthquake damaged state- and independently-owned hydroelectric projects that includes the US$664 million 456-MW Upper Tamakoshi hydroelectric facility being constructed on Nepal’s Tamakoshi River.

According to NEA, the Upper Tamakoshi concrete dam settled as a result of the April 25, Nepal earthquake that killed more than 7,000 people.

Published local news reports indicate Bigyan Prasad Shrestha, Upper Tamakoshi project chief, said an initial inspection of the project site following the earthquake showed the dam sustained “settlement.” But, there was no other damage.

“This [settlement] is repairable and it is not a new phenomenon for projects under construction,” Shrestha said.

The project is one of several revealed by Nepal’s Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai in September 2008 as part of a government initiative to increase the country’s hydroelectric capacity by 10,000 MW by 2018.

NEA’s list of damaged facilities include:

Upper Tamakoshi is a peaking run-of-river project with an 822 m gross head and a design discharge of 66 m3/s.

The major components of this project are the intake, a 22 m high concrete dam, twin de-sanding basins, a 7.86 km long headrace tunnel, a 360 m high surge shaft, a 495 m long penstock pipe, an underground powerhouse with six Pelton turbines, a 2.9 km long tailrace tunnel, and a 47 km long 220 kV transmission line to Khimti substation.

The facility is the largest hydroelectric project in Nepal, located in the district of Dolakha, one of the districts that bore the brunt of the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that had its epicenter 197 km east in Kathmandu.

The plant is on the Tamakoshi River, one of the major tributaries to the Sunkoshi River in the Koshi River Basin near Nepal’s northwestern border with Tibet.

The project is slated to be complete by 2016, but the earthquake may push back its completion date.  

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for HydroWorld.com.

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