Laos’s Controversial Xayaburi Dam on Mekong River Begins Operations

The Xayaburi dam, the first of five planned large Mekong river mainstream dams in Laos, officially began operations Tuesday, setting in motion the first major cog in the country’s ambitious but controversial plan to become the “battery of Southeast Asia.”

The dam, which began construction in 2012, had been a focal point of criticism from both environmentalists and human rights activists.

They say that the electricity that the dam and others like it will produce for export to neighboring countries is not worth the serious ecological and human impacts of altering the natural flow of the Mekong river.

The Thai-owned project was built at a cost of $4.47 billion.


RFA’s Lao Service