Article ID: CBB758899870

'The Yellow River Comes from Our Hands': Silt, Hydroelectricity, and the Sanmenxia Dam, 1929-1973 (2021)


Focusing on the planning and construction of the Sanmenxia hydropower project, this article analyses the dynamics and tensions between energy demand and the nature of the Yellow River in the twentieth century. From the late 1920s, Japanese engineers aimed to develop hydroelectric power by building dams on the Yellow River. They viewed the Yellow River as an important source of hydroelectric power for building the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere. When Chinese Communists took control, they claimed that the primary function of the Sanmenxia project was flood control. Yet, influenced by the Soviet Union and the Chinese Communist state's industrialisation efforts, the engineers also emphasised the generation of electrical power, which resulted in a high dam design. The silting of the reservoir, however, frustrated the ambition of the Chinese leaders and engineers and resulted in the production of much lower and unstable power output upon the dam's completion.

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Authors & Contributors
Pursell, Carroll W.
Götz, Roland
Hirt, Paul W.
Sovacool, Benjamin K.
Brossmann, Brent
Landry, Marc
IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology
Environmental History
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine
Icon: Journal of the International Committee for the History of Technology
Technology and Culture
University Press of Kansas
University of Toronto Press
Texas A&M University Press
University of North Carolina Press
Cornell University Press
Hydroelectric power
Energy resources and technologies
Electric power industry
Technology and government
Industrial archaeology
Time Periods
20th century, early
20th century
20th century, late
21st century
19th century
United States
Pacific Northwest (North America)
Alps (Europe)
Bavaria (Germany)
World Bank

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