Photographs of a volume of water escaping near the dam wall went viral on social media over the weekend, leading many to raise concerns about the structural integrity of the
hydropower project, as well as the safety of nearby settlements.
Mr. Bounnhang Phengsouvan, Advisor to Government Relations and member of the Nam Theun 1 Executive Committee, made a statement to the media today to clarify the situation.
He said that the Nam Theun 1 Power Company had been constructed under the supervision and management of a Swiss team of experts, while the Government of Laos also maintained its own team of experts to oversee the construction and ensure strict adherence to international safety standards.
Following the hydropower installation receiving approval from the government to store water in May, 2021, the company noted some leakage to the right of the dam wall.
However, according to Nam Theun 1, experts have surveyed and reviewed the area and confirmed that it poses no danger to the dam.
The company says that the dam has always been and remains completely safe.
“I would like to thank the Party and government for their continued support during our operations. Our team has made a thorough inspection of the area in question and I can confidently confirm that the dam remains safe,” said Mr. Bounnhang.
He went on to thank the media for helping to spread his message and called on people to ensure they consume official news instead of trusting rumors.
Meanwhile, EGCO Group, which holds a 25% stake in the Nam Theun 1 Hydropower Project, issued its own statement clarifying leakage found at the Nam Theun 1 dam site.
“During the construction of a roller-compacted concrete dam, water could be found leaking from the side walls’ rocky crevices. It is a common phenomenon when a dam starting reserves water,” the company said.
“…This incident has no effect on the main construction and safety of the dam. In this regard, the Nam Theun 1 Power Plant and the Lao government have collaborated to disseminate accurate information and assure the safety of people nearby.”
The Nam Theun 1 Hydropower Project is a 177-meter dam located on the Nam Kading River in Bolikhamxay Province with a total installed capacity of 650MW.