Itaipu Dam is a hydroelectric dam located on the border of Paraguay and Brazil.
The resource used to run this dam is the Parana River, which forms a natural barrier between the two countries. The plan for a hydro-generating plant, using the Parana River as its source of energy, began in the 1960s. In the 1980s the dam was officially opened. The American Society of Civil Engineers considered the Itaipu Dam to be such an amazing achievement that they listed it as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Interesting Itaipu Dam Facts:
- Itaipu translates to mean ‘the sounding stone‘. It was named after a small island that was near the construction site of the dam.
- The deal between Paraguay and Brazil to build the dam was signed on July 22, 1966. Construction did not begin until 1971.
- Itaipu Dam is a series of dams that are 738 feet high and 4.8 miles long.
- Itaipu Dam is actually made up of four dams: a concrete wing dam, a main concrete dam, a rock-fill dam, and an earth-fill dam.
- To begin construction it was necessary to divert the flow of the Parana River. Parana River is one of the largest rivers in the world.
- More than 50 million tons of earth and rock had to be moved to create the channel to divert the water. This channel was 1.3 miles long, 300 feet deep and 490 feet wide.
- It took 40,000 workers to build the dam. The majority of these workers were from Brazil. 149 of them were killed during construction. It took seven years to build.
- More than 10,000 families had to be relocated during construction to make way for the channel to divert the water.
- It took 12.3 million cubic meters of concrete to build the dam.
- To cure the concrete properly, they had to use large refrigeration units equal to 50,000 deep freezers.
- There was enough steel and iron used to build Itaipu Dam to build 380 copies of the Eiffel Tower.
- In the main concrete dam at Itaipu, there are 28 giant turbines in a half mile long power house. Each of these turbines weighs 800 pounds and is 53 feet across.
- Itaipu Dam generated 94,684 megawatts in 2008. This is the most power that has been produced by a single dam.
- This dam produces the same amount of energy as burning 434,000 of oil every day.
- It supplies Paraguay with approximately 78% of its energy needs.
- Guaira Falls was twice the height of Niagara Falls and twice as much water flow.
- Itaipu Dam produces six times as much power as the Hoover Dam and is 10 times as heavy and 18 times the size.
- Itaipu Dam is about the same height as a 65 story building.