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Lao Deputy Minister reviews AIT testing of Xayaburi Hydroelectric Power Project

AIT scientists last week unveiled to the media some findings from a series of tests conducted at the campus Hydraulic Scale Model Study of the Xayaburi Hydroelectric Project, which is a facility planned for construction in Lao PDR.

 Lao Deputy Minister reviews AIT testing of Xayaburi Hydroelectric Power Project

From left: Mr. Viraphonh Viravong, Dr. Sutat Weesakul and Prof. Said Irandoust.


They also briefed Laos’ Deputy Minister of Energy and Mines Mr. Viraphonh Viravong, who led a large delegation of Lao Government officials and media on a study visit on 25 October 2012 to AIT’s hydraulics laboratory at the Water Engineering and Management (WEM), School of Engineering and Technology (SET).

Mr. Viraphonh was escorted on a review of the simulation testing facility by Prof. M.S. Babel, WEM/SET, and Affiliate Faculty Dr. Sutat Weesakul WEM/SET. Later, AIT President Prof. Said Irandoust welcomed the deputy minister and his delegation to the institute.

The Xayaburi Dam is a hydroelectric project planned for construction on the Mekong River, approximately 30 kilometres east of Xayaburi town in northern Laos. WEM was commissioned by the Xayaburi Power Co. Ltd (XPCL) to carry out a hydraulic model study of a revised spillway design.

“Our delegation is at AIT to familiarize ourselves with the simulations and to introduce to the Lao public some of the scientific testing being done on the project,” Mr. Viraphonh said. “There is no question of Lao PDR not developing its hydropower potential. The only question is how to do it sustainably.”

Mr. Arturo Roa, Senior Lab Supervisor, WEM/SET, briefed the Lao delegation on the results of tests conducted as part of the six-month project that began in June this year.

He said AIT has investigated all possible scenarios for hydraulic performance of the stilling basin, river diversion and river flow for different months of the year. So far, the tests are more than 50 percent completed.

Two hydraulic models have been built for the study; a general model (scale 1:120) for testing the hydraulic behavior and the fully functional components of the complete power plant, and a detailed model (scale 1:60) for testing the hydraulic performance of the low level outlet design.

The study is sponsored by TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management Co. Ltd through a Bt. 6.3 Million research grant awarded to Dr. Sutat.

“One aim of the study was to identify the necessary diameter of rock needed for the cofferdam, and we know this now,” Mr. Roa said. The next phase of the project to last until the end of December will include tests on installation of the power base and tests on the capacity of the spillway, he added.

The latest tests at WEM followed an earlier hydraulic model study carried out by AIT in 2009-2010 of the preliminary design for the dam project. The study was sponsored by Ch. Karnchang Public Co. Ltd.

Dr. Daovong Phonekeo, Ministry of Energy and Mines, Lao PDR; Mr. Chansaveng Bounngong, Department of Energy Policy and Planning; Mr. Sanhya Somvichith, Department of Energy Policy and Planning; Ms. Santisouk Phimphachanh, Department of Energy Policy and Planning; Mr. Sompith Keovichith, Department of Energy Business; Ms. Souksamone Keophoxay, Department of Energy Business; Mr. Van Houng Dau, Director of Xayaburi Power Co. Ltd; and representatives from Ch. Karnchang Public Co Ltd; XPCL; TEAM Consulting Engineering and Management Co. Ltd and Poyry also attended the briefing. Journalists from the Vientiane Times newspaper and Lao TV covered the visit to AIT.