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Print Edition> Nation
UPDATED: December 31, 2010 NO. 1 JANUARY 6, 2011
Getting a Good Grade
The Three Gorges Project's evaluation report concludes its merits outweigh its pitfalls

Chronology of the Three Gorges Project

1918, Dr. Sun Yat-sen suggested a dam should be built on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River to let ships go downstream and use the water resource as power.

May 1945, Dr. John Lucian Savage, an American expert in dam construction, arrived in the Three Gorges area and put forward his preliminary report on development plans.

February 1950, the Yangtze River Water Resource Commission was founded for comprehensive management of the river right after the founding of the People's Republic of China.

1955, comprehensive planning of the Yangtze River drainage area and investigation, research and design of the Three Gorges Project started, and most of the work was concluded in 1957.

December 1970, the Gezhouba Dam Project was approved for construction. The project started power generation in 1981 and was totally completed in 1989. It was seen as a test for the future Three Gorges Project.

February and March 1989, the Leading Group for the Three Gorges Project Argumentation reviewed and approved the revised feasibility report on the project with normal storage level of 175 meters.

April 3, 1992, the Resolution to Construct the Three Gorges Project was adopted at the Fifth Session of the Seventh National People's Congress.

January 3, 1993, the State Council Three Gorges Project Construction Committee was founded, which would include an executive office, a migrant relocation development bureau and the future China Yangtze Three Gorges Development Corp.

December 14, 1994, the Three Gorges Project officially started.

November 8, 1997, the Yangtze River was dammed, which indicates the construction target of phase I was completed.

June 1, 2003, the reservoir began storing water and the water reached 135 meters on June 10.

June 16, 2003, the trial navigation of the ship lock was successful.

July 10, 2003, the first generator unit began working and was connected to the power grid.

July 8, 2004, the double-way and five-step ship lock officially passed inspection.

September 8, 2004, the Three Gorges Project experienced at 8 a.m. a flood of 60,500 cubic meters per second, the third largest autumn flood in history. This is the first time the project demonstrated its function of flood control succeeding in withholding a flood of 0.5 billion cubic meters in the reservoir while assuring the project's safety, normal construction and power generation.

Till December 31, 2004, the ship lock had 13,105 operations in total, with 101,100 ships, 2.808 million passengers and 48.076 million tons of goods passing through.

May 2006, the major structure of the dam was completed. The water level of the reservoir rose to 156 meters in October 2006, marking that the project became fully functional in flood control, power generation and navigation.

September 2008, the Three Gorges Project experimented with raising the water level to 175 meters for the first time and stopped at 172.8 meters.

October 2008, the 26 turbo-generators installed on both banks of the dam were put into operation.

September 2009, the Three Gorges Project experimented with raising the water level to 175 meters for the second time and halted at 171.43 meters.

July 2010, the dam withstood a flow of 70,000 cubic meters per second from the upper reaches, which was larger than the flow during the catastrophic 1998 floods and was the third largest flood crest of the Yangtze in its hydrological records.

July 2010, the 26 turbo-generators passed a test of working at full capacity of 18.3 million kw for 168 hours straight.

September 2010, the project activated the third trial of raising the water level to 175 meters.

October 2010, the water level reached 175 meters, its designed maximum, for the first time.

Source: www.gov.cn

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