China's Three Gorges Corp began construction of a US$4.75 billion dam would be the last in a series
of 12 dams along the Yangtze.
When completed, the Xiaonanhai dam is designed to produce 1.76 gigawatts, a fraction of the 22.50GW that the Three Gorges Dam will produce when it reaches full capacity.
This will flood the last free-flowing portion of the middle reaches of the Yangtze, the country's longest river.
A ceremony was held to commence early-stage preparation, including building a road and laying power lines and water pipes for the Xiaonanhai dam, said spokesman Zhu Guangming.
"Construction of the dam itself will begin only after we get final approval," Zhu said, declining to give cost estimates.
The series will stretch inland from the Three Gorges Dam, which has created an inland reservoir more than 600 kilometers long that has allowed the city of Chongqing to develop into an inland port.
The National Development and Reform Commission has issued preliminary approval.
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