DUSHANBE, January 21, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- More than 12 million somoni (equivalent to almost 2.8 million U.S. dollars) were spent last year for modernization of Tajikistan’s largest hydroelectric power plant – Norak HPP, according to Barqi Tojik power holding (Tajik electricity supplier).

The source says 5.6 million somoni (some US$1.3 million) were spent last year for repairing capital equipment and supporting facilities of the station, which is 125,300 somoni (US$28,400) more than in 2009.

“All units of the station, except unit 8, are in good condition,” the source said, noting that modernization of unit 8 is finished and it will be reintroduced into operation in the new future.

In all, some 60 million somoni (more than US$13 million) were sent last year for rehabilitation of the country’s hydropower facilities, which is 7 million somoni more than in 2009, he added.

The Norak Dam is a large earth fill dam located on the Vakhsh River.  At 300 meters it is currently the tallest dam in the world.  Construction of the dam began in 1961 and was completed in 1980, when Tajikistan was still a republic within the Soviet Union.

A total of nine hydroelectric turbines are installed in the Norak Dam. Originally having a generating capacity of 300 megawatts each (2,700 megawatts total), they have since been redesigned and retrofitted such that they now combine to produce 3,000 megawatts.  The station’s capacity is 11.2 billion kWh of electrical power per year.