Hydro-electric dams in disrepair

23rd February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 22, 2007 (AFP) - Dams forming the backbone of France's hydro-electric power system are cracking, leaking and on the verge of total collapse, a media report said Thursday.

PARIS, Feb 22, 2007 (AFP) - Dams forming the backbone of France's hydro-electric power system are cracking, leaking and on the verge of total collapse, a media report said Thursday.

Of 450 dams inspected by state-controlled electricity provider EDF, 200 showed worrying signs of dilapidation, according to French magazine Capital, which cited a confidential EDF report written last year.

One hundred dams were considered to be dangerous to the surrounding environment, with some even threatening to flood nearby villages under certain adverse conditions, it said.

Most of the problems were detected in dams in the Alps, but also in central and southwestern France.

Among the most dangerous were the dams at Mauzac in the Dordogne region, which was at "risk of rupture," and at Viclaire in Savoie where part of the structure was threatening to collapse on a village.

Repairs to one dam alone, at Tuilieres in the Dordogne, would cost an estimated 80 million euros (104 million dollars), according to the report.

EDF refused to comment to AFP about the report, saying it was "confidential." It insisted however that it had earmarked 500 million euros for dam maintenance between 2007-2011, which would meet all requirements.

EDF chief Pierre Gadonneix told Europe 1 radio that the group would use some of its massive 5.6-billion-dollar profit in 2006 to re-invest in France.

"EDF has a fantastic heritage of production ... and we have not invested for 10 years. It's urgent to renovate, to modernise and to develop this heritage," he said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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