Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Laos suspends ambitious dam project after fatal collapse

Laos dam collapse

The Laos government has suspended its ambitious hydropower project, following last month’s dam collapse which killed at least 39 people.

The government has now suspended approval of any new dams and is carrying out a structural review of all dams currently under construction or recently constructed.

Laos has 46 operating hydroelectric power plants, with 54 more planned or under construction.

Ninety people are still missing, and around 6,000 people have been displaced after an auxiliary dam collapsed in the southern province of Attapeu during heavy storms.

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) has “applauded” the government’s decision.

“The Mekong River Commission has welcomed the highly applauded and progressive decision … that the country will review all existing and under-construction dams and suspend the consideration of all new hydropower investments considering the Xepian Xenamnoy dam break,” the MRC said.

SK Engineering, one of the joint venture partners on the £780M Xe-Pian Xe Namnoy project, said it warned the government and began evacuating villages in the south-eastern province of Attapeu 24 hours before the dam collapsed.

The project was expected to generate 1,879Gwh per year, with 90% of the power exported to Thailand.

Like what you’ve read? To receive New Civil Engineer’s daily and weekly newsletters click here.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.