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Chinese environmental ministry approves massive Shuangjiangkou hydropower project

China's Ministry of Environmental Protection has approved what could become the country's tallest hydropower plant, despite concerns regarding the project's impact on plants and rare fish.

An environmental impact assessment released yesterday by the ministry notes that the 20-GW Shuangjiangkou project could affect the flora and fauna in local nature reserves, though the proposal has been passed to China's State Council for the formal go-ahead.

If approved, the Shuangjiangkou project will be built on the Dadu River in China's southwestern Sichuan province. The project will include a 1,030-foot-tall dam -- eclipsing the Xiowan, which is currently the country's tallest dam.

Construction of the Shuangjiangkou plant is expected to take at least a decade, with work being undertaken by state-owned power firm Guodian Group.

The project is part of China's plan to increase its cumulative hydroelectric capacity by up to 300 GW through the end of the decade.

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