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Vice premier urges Three Gorges safety
From: Xinhua--

BEIJING -- Vice Premier Li Keqiang has urged officials and workers at the section of the Three Gorges in southwest China to ensure safety and quality for the project as the flood season draws near.

The member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Political Bureau made the remark at a meeting here on Thursday by the Office of the State Council Three Gorges Project Construction Committee.

Flood is discharged from the Three Gorges Reservoir through the dam in Yinchang, central China's Hubei Province, July 5, 2008. [Xinhua]

The Three Gorges Dam started discharging water earlier this month to lower the water level in the reservoir after excessive rainfall upstream. The discharge would continue as more heavy rain was expected on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.

"The project is now entering the key post-construction phase. Meanwhile, the flood season is coming and our safety task is very arduous," said Li after hearing reports on the project by teams of experts, the Ministry of Land and Resources and other organizations, among them.

Li stressed the evacuation and relocation of people living in the dam section was a long-term mission. Related organizations should see to their basic life requirements and employment by fulfilling policies on supporting migrants and training them for professional skills.

The world's largest dam, 2,309 meters long and 185 meters high, is expected to help minimize damage caused by floods that might occur only once every 1,000 years.

In addition, Li urged to build an ecological protection area around the dam to prevent water pollution, soil loss and mud-sand silting. He said the section of the Three Gorges Dam should be built as an ecological barrier for the Yangtze.

The US$22.5 billion project was launched in 1993. Its 26 turbo-generators is designed to produce 85 billion kwh of electricity annually after their installation is completed at yearend.

According to the office, more than 1.24 million people had been relocated and the project was going smoothly in terms of the local economic society development, environment construction and geologic disaster prevention.

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