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Brazil, Paraguay celebrate Itaipu hydropower project's 40th birthday

Itaipu Hydropower Project

Representatives from Brazil and Paraguay met this past week to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 14,000-MW Itaipu hydropower plant.

Located on the Parana River between the two countries, the project's operator, Itaipu Binacional, consider May 17, 1974, to be the plant's birthday.

It was then that machinery first began arriving at the construction site, sparking a decade-long project that, at its peak, employed 40,000 workers. Named one of the "Seven Wonders of the Engineering World" by Popular Mechanics magazine, Itaipu's dam was the world's largest when it was inaugurated.

"Brazilians and Paraguayans did the impossible," Itaipu Binacional board member Jorge Samek said. "They turned into reality the design of a plant that for nearly four decades was simply the greatest of all."

The company announced Itaipu had broken its own world record for annual power production in January after the plant posted an output of 98.63 TWh in 2012-13.

The plant is the world's second largest in overall capacity, trailing only China's Three Gorges.

Itaipu Binacional said the celebration this past week will be followed by other events marking the plant's anniversary throughout the year.

Visit here to read a special white paper further detailing Itaipu's illustrious history.

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