Lao soldiers search for missing people following a devastating flood caused by a fracture in a saddle dam at the Sepian Senamnoi hydropower plant in July (Photo: Xinhua/VNA)
 
Vientiane (VNA) – The Lao government will begin inspecting the safety standards applied to the construction of all hydropower dams in the country next year in a bid to prevent further accidents, reported the Vientiane Times on November 30.

Lao Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Sinnava Souphanouvong said that competent agencies will carry out inspections to examine the safety standards applied to the construction of all dams in Laos from 2019 to 2020.

The inspections will cover design and construction along with the administration of sustainable production and safety at all hydropower dams.

The checks have been instituted following a devastating flood caused by a fracture in a saddle dam at the Sepian Senamnoi hydropower plant in Attapeu province in July 23, as well as the rupturing of the Nam Ao dam in Xieng Khuang province in September.

The inspections comply with Electricity Law No. 23 47/2018, Article 23, which covers the determination of standards for electrical equipment to ensure that electrical tools, equipment, transmission lines and appliances meet the relevant standards, are safe and energy saving, and form a uniform system throughout the country. 

Dams that are inspected by authorities can continue construction or operations as long as they are shown to meet safety standards.

The Lao government recently suspended the consideration of new hydropower projects until it has reviewed safety standards, as well as its dam development strategy and plans for the future.

According to the ministry, Laos’ plans for hydropower development project a total installed capacity of 5,500MW by 2020 and a further 20,000MW is planned after 2020. -VNA