Friday, March 02, 2007

Experts confirm Bumbuna's operation soon

Report from a 3-man Dam Safety Review panel has declared that the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project is at no particular risk.Basically, all the planning, hydraulic structure, dam structure, rehabilitation, etc done were correct and safe,the leader of the team, Mr. Bella Petry stated. A statement from the Communication Unit of the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project issued Tuesday disclosed that the experts were in the country on the invitation of the Government of Sierra Leone to receive and review in details various project documents, reviewed information relating to the civil works and main equipment/installations of the project with emphasis on the completion work. These activities are imperative in preparation for the impoundment of the dam in April this year.In the report submitted on Thursday February 22, 2007 to the Minister of Energy and Power, Mr. Llyod During, the Technical Committee and the Project Implementation Unit of the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project, the experts noted that some good engineering practices were put in place in the construction of the dam,the statement reads. We are not forecasting any problem as there is no unacceptable risk for the pending impoundment,the statement quotes the team leader said. According to the statement Mr. Petry said their duty was typically technical and that they were satisfied with the entire dam construction work. The team which also included Mr. Peter Techernutter and Mr. Bill Moller, informed that three authorities are fundamentally important to take convenient command of the impoundment:the Government of Sierra Leone, the contractor Salini Costruttori - and the project consultant Studio Pietrangeli. Representatives of these authorities, according to the team, must be located at the project site to monitor every aspect of the impoundment process, they stressed. The experts however warned that a delay in the implementation of the resettlement and environmental programs will create problems with the lending institutions. The World Bank, they noted, is looking at the realities of the resettlement and environmental programs because they are concerned with the socio-economic livelihood of the affected people. The World Bank further requires that resettlement must be implemented before impoundment,it states and noted that the team advised that the resettlement program be accelerated with the view to obtaining clearance from the World Bank for the impoundment and recommended that a crash emergency program of resettlement should be put in place to move the affected people as early as possible. From our engineering point of view, government could go ahead with the impoundment, the experts concluded.

Source: Concord Times Newspaper