DUSHANBE, December 13, Asia-Plus - Prime Minister Oqil Oqilov has assessed a progress of construction works on the site for Sangtuda-1 hydropower plant as satisfactory, Turanboy Tuychiyev, an employee with presidential press service, told Asia-Plus.   

According to him, the prime minister has been satisfied with preparations for the construction of a dam on the Vakhsh River, which is scheduled to officially commence on December 15.   

In the meantime, Igor Kim, an engineer-in-chief with management for the construction of the Sangtuda-1 station, said in an interview with Asia-Plus that they plan to have completed concreting works in two drainage tunnels by this date.  At the same time, he doubts that the tunnels will be finished completely by the date fixed.  “Within a couple of days, we have to lay some 1,000 cubic meters of concrete in the tunnels and it [concrete] should dry up,” the engineer-in-chief said.  

Experts hold that turning on water through hastily constructed tunnels may have unpredictable consequences, leading to flooding in the nearby areas.  

Igor Kim also noted that complete electricity supplies cutoff will be introduced in Tajikistan on December, at 11:00 p.m., and will last until December 17, 11:00 p.m.  Electricity will be available to only the facilities of nationwide significances, according to him. 

 President Emomali Rahmonov, head of the Russian conglomerate Unified Energy Systems (RAO YeES) Anatoly Chubais and head of Barqi Tojik (Tajik electric systems) power holding Sharifkhon Samiyev are expected to attend a ceremony of damming the Vakhsh River. 

Construction of Sangtuda-1 started in April 2005, and Anatoly Chubais announced that contractors would intensify work to meet the construction deadline for the Sangtuda-1 hydroelectric power station.  The power station is scheduled to go into full operation in 2009, with the first unit expected to begin generating electricity in April 2007.  RAO YeES is spending approximately $500 million to build Sangtuda-1, and the Russian entity will retain a 75 percent share in the power plant, which will generate a projected 2.7 billion kWh of electricity per annum.  The power station will have an estimated capacity of 670 MW – enough to meet Tajikistan’s domestic needs and allow for the export of electricity, namely to Afghanistan.