Nurek Dam

Nurek Dam

Ask a question about 'Nurek Dam'
Start a new discussion about 'Nurek Dam'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
The Nurek Dam is an earth fill embankment dam
Embankment dam
An embankment dam is a massive artificial water barrier. It is typically created by the emplacement and compaction of a complex semi-plastic mound of various compositions of soil, sand, clay and/or rock. It has a semi-permanent waterproof natural covering for its surface, and a dense, waterproof...

 on the Vakhsh River
Vakhsh River
The Vakhsh has been intensively developed for human use. Electricity, aluminum, and cotton are the mainstays of Tajikistan’s economy, and the Vakhsh is involved with all three of these sectors. Hydroelectricity provides 91% of the country’s electricity as of 2005, and 90% of that total comes from...

 in the central Asian nation of Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....

. Construction of the dam began in 1961 and was completed in 1980, when Tajikistan was still a republic
Republics of the Soviet Union
The Republics of the Soviet Union or the Union Republics of the Soviet Union were ethnically-based administrative units that were subordinated directly to the Government of the Soviet Union...

 within the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. At 300 m (984 ft) it is currently the tallest dam in the world. The Rogun Dam
Rogun Dam
Rogun Dam is an under construction dam on the Vakhsh River in southern Tajikistan. It is one of the planned hydroelectric power plants of Vakhsh Cascade. If finished, it would be the world's tallest dam with a height of height compared to the second tallest dam Nurek Dam at . -History:The Rogun...

, also along the Vakhsh also in Tajikistan, may exceed it if completed.


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
In the most general sense of the word, a cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. The word "cement" traces to the Romans, who used the term opus caementicium to describe masonry resembling modern concrete that was made from crushed...

 forming an impermeable barrier within a 300 m (984.3 ft)-high rock and earth fill construction. The volume of the mound is 54 million m³. The dam includes nine hydroelectric
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

 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 75 km (47 mi) east of the nation's capital of Dushanbe
-Economy:Coal, lead, and arsenic are mined nearby in the cities of Nurek and Kulob allowing for the industrialization of Dushanbe. The Nurek Dam, the world's highest as of 2008, generates 95% of Tajikistan's electricity, and another dam, the Roghun Dam, is planned on the Vakhsh River...

. A town near the dam, also called Nurek
Nurek is a city in the Khatlon province of Tajikistan. It is situated on the Vakhsh River, 885 m above sea level, and is 70 km southeast of Dushanbe, the capital...

, houses engineer
An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

s and other workers employed at the dam's power plant.

Electricity generation

A total of nine hydroelectric Francis turbine
Francis turbine
The Francis turbine is a type of water turbine that was developed by James B. Francis in Lowell, Massachusetts. It is an inward-flow reaction turbine that combines radial and axial flow concepts....

s 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.


The reservoir
A reservoir , artificial lake or dam is used to store water.Reservoirs may be created in river valleys by the construction of a dam or may be built by excavation in the ground or by conventional construction techniques such as brickwork or cast concrete.The term reservoir may also be used to...

 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 70 km (43.5 mi) in length, and has a surface area of 98 km² (38 sq mi). The reservoir fuels the hydroelectric plant located within the dam, and stored water is also used for irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 of local agricultural
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 land. Irrigation water is transported 14 kilometers through the Dangara irrigation tunnel and is used to irrigate about 700 km² (270.3 sq mi) of farmland. It is suspected that the reservoir may be causing induced seismicity
Induced seismicity
Induced seismicity refers to typically minor earthquakes and tremors that are caused by human activity that alters the stresses and strains on the Earth's crust. Most induced seismicity is of an extremely low magnitude...


External links

  • "AQUASTAT - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture: Tajikistan" (1997). Food and Agriculture Organization
    Food and Agriculture Organization
    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

     of the United Nations
    United Nations
    The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

    , Land and Water Development Division. Retrieved August 16, 2005.
  • "Exhibitions to the Beginning of Amudarya". International Conference on Regional Cooperation in Transboundary River Basins. Retrieved August 16, 2005.
  • "Highest Dams (World and U.S.)". Stanford University
    Stanford University
    The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

    Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Retrieved August 16, 2005.
  • Nurek Dam