three gorges dam
dam on the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) just west of the city of Yichang in Hubei province, China. A straight-crested concrete gravity structure, the Three Gorges Dam is 2,335 metres (7,660 feet) long with a maximum height of 185 metres (607 feet). It incorporates 28 million cubic metres (37 million cubic yards) of concrete and 463,000 metric tons of steel into its design. When construction of the dam officially began in 1994, it was the largest engineering project in China, and, at the time of its completion in 2006, it was the largest dam structure in the world. Submerging large areas of the Qutang, Wu, and Xilang gorges for some 600 km (375 miles) upstream, the dam is intended to create an immense deepwater reservoir allowing oceangoing freighters to navigate 2,250 km (1,400 miles) inland from Shanghai on the East China Sea to the inland city of Chongqing. Limited hydroelectric power production began in 2003. When fully operational in 2009, the dam's 26 turbines will generate approximately 18,000 megawatts of electricity for Shanghai and other cities-as much as that produced by 15 coal-burning power stations. The dam also is intended to protect millions of people from the periodic flooding that plagues the Yangtze basin
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