Do high water and design flaws threaten China’s Three Gorges Dam?

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Heavy rain has caused flooding and a major overload to China’s massive Three Gorges Dam, and a Chinese hydrologist is now warning the dam, which he claims has design flaws, could fail at any time.

Rather than commenting on the validity of the images showing the dam’s warping a year ago, Wang said a more serious concern is the cracks and substandard concrete discovered during its construction. He said a failure of the dam would have catastrophic consequences for individuals residing in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River and that they should prepare for evacuation as soon as possible, reported CT Want.

In his interview with Radio France Internationale, the Chinese water expert also criticized the Chinese government and state media for refusing to acknowledge the potential danger of the reservoir. He said that scientists who have spoken the truth have been criminalized by Beijing, resulting in a society with no communication.

According to Chinese stated-owned CNTV, water inside the Three Gorges Dam continues to accumulate and has risen two meters above its flood-prevention level. Although the dam has been hailed by Beijing as one of the greatest engineering achievements in human history, its structural integrity continues to be questioned.

The dam was only completed in 2009, after decades of planning and construction. If it fails it will be a disaster for China and its communist government, much worse that the Wuhan flu has been.


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  • pzatchok

    That dam is Chinas greatest military weakness. One good penetrating bomb and it gone by the next day. Along with everything down stream.
    Its just laying on bedrock and supported by dirt back fill.

    I will be happy when the US no longer depends on them for 100% or anything.
    Did anyone notice the Covid cell phone shortage? As a consumer good we can live without any new Chinese made computers for a year or two.

    India and Africa would love the new business.

  • V-Man

    >As a consumer good we can live without any new Chinese made computers for a year or two.
    >India and Africa would love the new business.

    Or, or — and I know this is a radical proposition, but hear me out — they could be made here, in the West, by Western citizens for sale to Western citizens.

    Re: the dam failing

    Will we see a Chernobyl/Star Trek VI situation (accelerate the collapse) or a Red Storm Rising situation (desperate, the CCP lashes out)?

  • Cotour

    “Things” are made in other country’s because of two things, 1. Cost of labor / regulation, and 2. Reliable work ethic in the people who are hired to do the job.

    I always hear “Bring the production back to America and put it in distressed cities and neighborhood.”. And that can be accomplished in some cases, but. For the most part, no company making things that are assembled by hand from consumer goods to anything else can not stand the cost of all of the regulation and much higher pay of the West. Not as long as they can legally do their work in these opportunity zone country’s.

    And, they do not have confidence, especially in this particular environment of civil unrest in those same cities and neighborhoods that their investment will not be either looted and or burnt to the ground.

    There are just some very real realities in the world and the vacuum that exists in these 2nd world economies that have the needed level of education and conscientious personnel to fill that vacuum are very hard to rationally beat. China as it rises, and fraudulent as they may be, are beginning to be seen as not the most cost effective market for these company’s to utilize. There is a cost to success, the equation is always evened out eventually.

    And that is the beauty of Capitalism, all the political bovine effluent goes out the window and then we get down to business.

  • Scumbag Lawyer

    Reading through Chinese history, there is a cyclical pattern to the rise and fall of each ruling dynasty. The fall of each dynasty is invariably preceded by a collapse of the levee system that results in catastrophic flooding. The populace interprets the collapse of the levees as a sign that the dynasty has lost the Mandate of Heaven, revolts, and installs a new dynasty.

    The new rulers make their first task repairing the levee system, and diligently maintain the levees until later generations grow corrupt and lax, allowing the system to crumble and creating the conditions for the cycle to start over.

    CCP would be wise to fix this sooner than later.

  • mpthompson

    The Three Gorges Dam may indeed be one of China’s greatest military weaknesses, but I find it hard to imagine a military scenario where it would be purposely targeted. A catastrophic failure could easily kill between 10 to 100 million civilians downstream. Anything short of a situation where nukes are already flying, any country attempting such an attack would instantly be an international pariah.

    Also, be very suspicious of satellite photos showing distortions in the dam that some are passing around as proof that collapse is imminent. China is notorious for purposely distorting GPS positioning data of landmarks which causes major headaches for non-Chinese map makers who don’t have access to the descrambling algorithms. Such distortions can be spotted in any satellite map of a city in China where the photos have to be distorted to fit the whacky “official” landmark positions. This leads to exactly the type of distortions seen in the recent satellite photos of the Three Gorges Dam where the image is a stiched composite of many photos.

    There are a few good videos on YouTube that describe the hoops Western companies have to jump through to provide even poor map and geo-position services within China. Ostensibly, such distortions are done on grounds of Chinese national security, but it’s almost certainly more of a protection racket run by China to ensure that only Chinese companies can provide useful map services to the Chinese public.

  • wayne

    -the appropriate clip-

    “It’s the only way to be sure…”

  • Cotour

    +6 PSI all the way :)

  • pzatchok

    A good enough bomb could be delivered by terrorist in a smallish plane.

    I ran looks like a good prospect for an open market nuclear bomb.

    They were having trouble with the dam even during construction. They had to increase its mass. Even today they are slowly adding back fill to the thing.

  • Col Beausabre

    pzatchok “I ran looks like a good prospect for an open market nuclear bomb.”

    No need for a nuke, as our chief demolitions instructor told us at Armor Officer Basic, “Gentlemen, humanity faces few problems that cannot be solved by the judicious application of high explosives”

    Please look up and
    It’s not for nothing that 617 “The Dambusters” Squadron chose as its motto, “Apres moi, le deluge”
    It became Bomber Command’s Special Missions squadron for the balance of the war (With Tallboy and Grand Slam “Earthquake Bombs”)

  • wayne

    …read my mind.

    Col Beausabre-
    From a purely physics-aspect, you are correct in that taking the dam down doesn’t require a nuclear device.
    From a logistical standpoint however;-> missile delivered fusion-weapon, airburst. It’ll be over in 40 minutes.

    Ref: 617 Squadron
    Highly recommend this radio version:

    “The Dambusters”
    Australasian Broadcasting 1954
    -consisting of 26 audio episodes-

    Author Paul Brickhill does narration. The first dozen episode’s cover the bouncing bomb, the remainder covers additional missions. Sorta slow in places but quite well done. (It’s “radio,” requires a different level of attention.)

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