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Lao Deputy Minister reviews AIT testing of Xayaburi Hydroelectric Power Project

29 Oct 2012

They also briefed Laos’ Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Mr.
Viraphonh Viravong, who led a large delegation of Lao Government
officials and media on a study visit on 25 October 2012 to AIT’s
hydraulics laboratory at the Water Engineering and Management (WEM),
School of Engineering and Technology (SET).

Mr. Viraphonh was escorted on a review of the simulation testing
facility by Prof. M.S. Babel, WEM/SET, and Affiliate Faculty Dr. Sutat
Weesakul WEM/SET. Later, AIT President Prof. Said Irandoust welcomed
the deputy minister and his delegation to the institute.

The Xayaburi Dam is a hydroelectric project planned for construction on
the Mekong River, approximately 30 kilometres east of Xayaburi town in
northern Laos. WEM was commissioned by the Xayaburi Power Co. Ltd
(XPCL) to carry out a hydraulic model study of a revised spillway

“Our delegation is at AIT to familiarize ourselves with the simulations
and to introduce to the Lao public some of the scientific testing being
done on the project,” Mr. Viraphonh said. “There is no question of Lao
PDR not developing its hydropower potential. The only question is how
to do it sustainably.”

Mr. Arturo Roa, Senior Lab Supervisor, WEM/SET, briefed the Lao
delegation on the results of tests conducted as part of the six-month
project that began in June this year.

He said AIT has investigated all possible scenarios for hydraulic
performance of the stilling basin, river diversion and river flow for
different months of the year. So far, the tests are more than 50
percent completed.

Two hydraulic models have been built for the study; a general model
(scale 1:120) for testing the hydraulic behavior and the fully
functional components of the complete power plant, and a detailed model
(scale 1:60) for testing the hydraulic performance of the low level
outlet design.

The study is sponsored by TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management
Co. Ltd through a Bt. 6.3 Million research grant awarded to Dr.

“One aim of the study was to identify the necessary diameter of rock
needed for the cofferdam, and we know this now,” Mr. Roa said. The next
phase of the project to last until the end of December will include
tests on installation of the power base and tests on the capacity of
the spillway, he added.

The latest tests at WEM followed an earlier hydraulic model study
carried out by AIT in 2009-2010 of the preliminary design for the dam
project. The study was sponsored by Ch. Karnchang Public Co. Ltd.

Dr. Daovong Phonekeo, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Lao PDR; Mr.
Chansaveng Bounngong, Department of Energy Policy and Planning; Mr.
Sanhya Somvichith, Department of Energy Policy and Planning; Ms.
Santisouk Phimphachanh, Department of Energy Policy and Planning; Mr.
Sompith Keovichith, Department of Energy Business; Ms. Souksamone
Keophoxay, Department of Energy Business; Mr. Van Houng Dau, Director
of Xayaburi Power Co. Ltd; and representatives from Ch. Karnchang
Public Co Ltd; XPCL; TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management Co. Ltd
and Poyry also attended the briefing. Journalists from the Vientiane
Times newspaper and Lao TV covered the visit to AIT.