03-15-2007 09:03

Energy conservation and environmental protection are topics of great interest to this year's NPC sessions. The rapid growth of China's economy over the past decade has meant sharp rises in energy demands. The country is trying to meet these needs by investing in dozens of hydro-electric dams. The most famous of these is the Three Gorges Dam, the largest in the world. In today's "Across China" special report, let's look at the human cost of this enormous hunger for energy.

Putting the final touches to the Three Gorges Dam

After some 14 years of arduous efforts, the massive project is almost complete. And China has written another world record.

It's over 2 kilometers long, and nearly 200 meters high. The dam has already begun to generate electricity, bringing much-needed energy to many cities.

Workers are busy installing the last generators, scheduled to go into operation by the end of the year.

Construction worker Li Zhichao said, "The project has numerous benefits, like flood control and producing electricity."

Another construction worker Chen Lang said, "I think the biggest benefits are to help the country solve the energy crunch and help create job opportunities.

The Three Gorges Dam project, when fully operational, it will have a capacity equaling a dozen nuclear power plants. The government believes this project will create cheap, clean energy, but there is also another side -- the project's cost.

The cost can be found upstream.

When the reservoir is filled, over 13 hundred villages will be submerged. This means one and half million people need to be relocated.