YICHANG, March 3 (Xinhua) -- A 20-day overhaul has begun on the north ship dock of the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydropower project, seeing it stop transport services for the first time since it began operations 10 years ago.
The overhaul began on Saturday as workers pumped water out of the five tiers of the dock to prepare for maintenance of its equipment.
"Since 2003, the Three Gorges ship docks have been operating around the clock in an efficient and stable manner," said Gao Xiong, a technical consultant for the China Three Gorges Corporation.
According to facility rules, some important parts of key machinery have reached their usage life-spans, said Gao, adding the overhaul will restore its designed capacity.
During the work, about 1,400 to 1,700 more ships, are expected to pass through the south ship dock, which underwent its own overhaul in March last year.
The Three Gorges Project, launched in 1993 with a budget equivalent to 22.5 billion U.S. dollars, consists of a dam, five-tier ship docks and a total of 32 hydropower turbo-generators, in central China's Hubei Province.
The dam's first generator went into operation on July 10, 2003. The last generator started operating last July, realizing a combined generating capacity of 22.5 million kw.
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