News of the WeekEcology

Along With Power, Questions Flow at Laos's New Dam

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Science  23 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5977, pp. 414-415
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5977.414-a

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The start-up of one of Southeast Asia's biggest hydropower dams has launched a new round of debate over how much damage the megaproject might inflict on the environment. Backers led by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank say that the $1.5 billion Nam Theun 2 dam in central Laos has already taken its most severe toll on the environment: Filling the reservoir in 2008 involved resettling 6200 people and inundating 450 square kilometers of the Nakai Plateau. But critics say that the ecological harm has only just begun.