Kariba Dam

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The Kariba Dam is a hydroelectric dam in the Kariba Gorge of the Zambezi river basin between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is one of the largest dams in the world, standing 128 m (420 ft) tall and 579 m (1,900 ft) long.[1]

Contents

Construction

The double curvature concrete arch dam was constructed between 1955 and 1959 by Impresit of Italy[2] at a cost of $135,000,000 for the first stage with only the Kariba South power cavern. Final construction and the addition of the Kariba North Power cavern by Mitchell Construction[3] was not completed until 1977 due to largely political problems for a total cost of $480,000,000. 86 men lost their lives during construction.[2]

Power generation

The Kariba supplies 1,266 MW of electricity to parts of both Zambia (the Copperbelt) and Zimbabwe and generates 6,400 GW·h (23 PJ) per annum. Each country has its own power station on the north and south bank of the dam respectively. The south station belonging to Zimbabwe has been in operation since 1960 and has six generators of 117.5 MW capacity each. [4]. The north station belonging to Zambia has been in operation since 1976, and has four generators of 153.5 MW each for a total of 615 MW; work to expand this capacity to 1,080 MW is expecting completion in December 2012. [5]. Lake Kariba, the reservoir created by the dam, extends for 280 km (174 mi) with a storage capacity of 180 km³.

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