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The Nurek Dam
The Nurek Dam (Tajik: Нерӯгоҳи обии Норак, Nerūgohi obii Norak, Tajiki for Nurek Hydro-electric Station) is a large earth fill dam located at 38.3715 N, 69.3492 E on the Vakhsh Rivermarker in the central Asian nation of Tajikistanmarker. At it is currently the tallest dam in the world. Construction of the dam began in 1961 and was completed in 1980, when Tajikistan was still a republic within the Soviet Unionmarker. The Rogun Dammarker, under construction along the Vakhsh also in Tajikistan, may exceed it when completed, depending on its final height.

Construction

The Nurek Dam was constructed by the Soviet Union between the years of 1961 and 1980. It is uniquely constructed, with a central core of cement forming an impermeable barrier within a -high rock and earth fill construction. The volume of the mound is 54 million m³. The dam includes nine hydroelectric generating units, the first commissioned in 1972 and the last in 1979.

The dam is located in a deep gorge along the Vakhsh River in western Tajikistan, about east of the nation's capital of Dushanbemarker. A town near the dam, also called Nurekmarker, houses engineers and other workers employed at the dam's power plant.

Electricity generation

A total of nine hydroelectric turbines are installed in the Nurek Dam. Originally having a generating capacity of 300 megawatts each (2.7 gigawatts total), they have since been redesigned and retrofitted such that they now combine to produce 3.0 gigawatts. As of 1994, this formed most of the nation's 4.0 gigawatt hydroelectric generating capacity, which was adequate to meet 98% of the nation's electricity needs.

Reservoir

The reservoir formed by the Nurek Dam, known simply as Nurek, is the largest reservoir in Tajikistan with a capacity of 10.5 km³. The reservoir is over in length, and has a surface area of . The reservoir fuels the hydroelectric plant located within the dam, and stored water is also used for irrigation of local agricultural land. Irrigation water is transported 14 kilometers through the Dangara irrigation tunnel and is used to irrigate about of farmland. It is suspected that the reservoir may be causing induced seismicity.

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