Sinohydro concedes to defects in Karuma Dam concrete works

KAMPALA, MAY 17 – A team of dam construction experts from Sinohydro Corporation has conceded to defects in the laying of concrete works Karuma hydro power station even it argues that resulting cracks on the spillway a will have no impact on the overall functionality of the 600MW power station.

In a report submitted to UEGCL, the team of experts that consulted widely with specialists in design and construction of concrete works concludes that the cracks which led to a four week pause in the works are just common cracks in the construction industry “which are remediable and therefore won’t affect the overall functionality of the dam.”

A statement released to media however suggests negligence and defective works saying, “the experts in a course of three weeks worked in conjunction with over 30 specialists in design and construction of concrete works on the ground and in China to analyze the causes of cracks and formulate remedial measures for the treatment and draft preventative/improvement measures to be adopted in concrete works construction based on the study of the drilled cores and construction methodologies.”

Following a visit to the dam mid April, the Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Irene Muloni ordered a halt to work on the Spillway pending investigations to ascertain the impact of the cracks on the overall functionality of the dam. Sinohydro subsequently dispatched a team of Experts led by Mr. Yang Yixin to carry out detailed investigations.

“The cracks after treatment with appropriate methodology shall have no adverse effect on the overall dam structure and its functionality. Sinohydro has commenced the procurement of equipment and materials for the treatment of cracks”, the report stated.

According to independent experts however, the cracks were most likely the result of Sinohydro neglecting basic procedures in managing the temperature of the concrete mixture during construction. Because cement generates heat when it reacts with water, it is a basic procedure for constructors of major civil works in high ambient temperature environments such as Uganda to preclude cracking by using ice to mix the concrete. It was not immediately clear if Sinohydro followed this basic procedure.

Similar cracks were identified at the 183MW Isimba Hydropower station where it is claimed Sinohydro is in charge if the construction works after it was subcontracted by sister Chinese firm China Water and Engineering Corporation.

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