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Iceland dam powers up economy

THE UK'S Mott MacDonald is lead consultant in a joint venture to oversee construction of a 190m high concrete faced rockfill dam and 60km of tunnel in eastern Iceland.

The dam and tunnel are part of an $1.1bn project - the largest industrial development in Iceland's history - which includes the Kßrahnjakar power station to supply energy to US company Alcoa's new aluminium smelter.

The project will provide a vital injection to the economy of the east fjords. Development of the Kßrahnjakar power station involves harnessing the glacial rivers J÷kulsß ß Dal and J÷kulsß Ý Fljotsdal and creating the 57km 2Hßlslon water-storage reservoir and smaller Ufsarlon reservoir.

From the Hßlslon reservoir, water will be conveyed through an underground headrace tunnel joining another tunnel from the Ufsarlon reservoir. A single tunnel takes it north eastward to the Teigsbjarg escarpment, where it will drop through two steep penstocks to an underground powerhouse.

Mott MacDonald will direct the construction supervision team which includes LÝnuh÷nnun, Fjarhitun and HNIT from Iceland plus European companies Coyne et Bellier, SWECO and Norconsult - appointed by national power company Landsvirkjun.

Mott MacDonald will also project manage dam construction and provide expertise for the 7.2m to 7.6m diameter tunnel - 33km of which will be driven by TBM and the remaining 27km by drill and blast.

The dam is due for completion in late 2006 and the tunnelling by mid 2008.

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