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17 Building Dams on International Rivers: Assuming a More Responsible Role

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Chapter Summary

The Nu river, or Salween as it is known in Burma, runs 3,673 kilometers, 2,020 of which flows in China, 200 along the Thailand-Burma border, and 1,450 in Burma. According to the China Electricity Council, the Nu was planned as a 2-reservoir, 13-dam cascade project in Yunnan Province, but would start with a 1-reservoir, 4-dam cascade project. In December 2012, two Burmese NGOs issued a report, stating that after the dam went into operation on the Long River in Yunnan Province five months earlier, the water discharge dropped rapidly, making it hard for the 16,000 Burmese villagers to carry on their usual trade and transportation along the waterway's lower reaches. Chinese hydropower developers consider building dams on cross-border rivers outside China as a highly desirable investment. Once the plants start operation and transmit electricity back home, the country receives clean energy and the hydropower corporations reap huge profits.

Keywords: Burmese NGOs; China Electricity Council; hydropower corporations; Nu river; Yunnan Province



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