via Asia Sentinel, 30 June 2020: Scientists warn that a dam proposed north of Luang Prabang may threaten the Unesco World Heritage site.
A leading Thai geologist is warning that a huge new dam proposed in an earthquake-prone region of northern Laos poses a high risk of endangering the famed UNESCO-World Heritage city of Luang Prabang.
The 1410-megawatt dam, expected to be Laos’s largest, is being developed by Thai construction giant CH Karnchang Plc on the Mekong River. It sits precariously close to an active earthquake fault line only 8.6 km away. The site is about an hour upriver from the tourist mecca, which has been called a “unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrating a key stage in the blending of European colonial and traditional Laotian cultural traditions.”
The warning is based on field research by earthquake specialist Punya Churasiri, an emeritus associate geology professor at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, who in a recent interview said: “This Luang Prabang dam is high risk.”