Hoa Binh power plant, construction of the 20th century

By Ngoc Thanh   November 19, 2019 | 10:43 am GMT+7
The Hoa Binh hydropower plant, Vietnam’s so-called ‘century project’, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Hoa Binh power plant, construction of the 20th century

Built in the Da River basin in the northern mountainous province of Hoa Binh, at the time of its conception in 1979, Hoa Binh was the largest hydroelectric plant in Southeast Asia.
It has a significant place in history. The plant was built during the country's transition period, fresh from the end of the Vietnam War, a trade embargo by the U.S. and a fight against the genocidal Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, and a border war with China looming.

Hoa Binh power plant, construction of the 20th century

The construction was supported by the Soviet Union all the way through, designing, supplying equipment, supervising, and helping it go on stream. Construction began on November 6, 1979, with 40,000 officers, engineers and workers and 750 Soviet experts. It was completed 15 years later on December 20, 1994.

Hoa Binh power plant, construction of the 20th century

The Hoa Binh dam is 128 m high and 734 m long with a total of 18 floodgates that can discharge 35,400 cubic meters of water per second and a capacity of nearly 10 billion cubic meters.

Hoa Binh power plant, construction of the 20th century

The dam's grout curtain, which protects the foundation from seepage, was built using the clay core-wall rockfill technique, only the fourth dam in the world to be built this way. It helps the dam withstand powerful earthquakes and the disparity between the volumes of water flowing into it in the dry and rainy seasons.

Hoa Binh power plant, construction of the 20th century

The underground construction enabled the plant to begin operating soon and in stages. The first two of the eight units began operating in December 1988.

Hoa Binh power plant, construction of the 20th century

The underground power plant consists of eight generation units with a combined capacity of 1,920MW, or 40 percent of the total capacity in the country then.

Hoa Binh power plant, construction of the 20th century

A worker checks the power generation parameters.

Hoa Binh power plant, construction of the 20th century

Under the concrete block which was used in the first river damming operation lies the letter from the people who built the Hoa Binh hydropower plant to future generations, written in Vietnamese and Russian. It is set to be opened in 2100.

Hoa Binh power plant, construction of the 20th century

A total of 168 people, including 11 Soviets, died during the construction. Their names are inscribed on a monument built on a bank of the dam.

 
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