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MIHAI ANDREI – Mosul dam engineers warn it could fail at any time, killing 1 million people

A tragedy is just waiting to happen in one of the largest cities in the Middle East, engineers warn. The Iraqis who built the dam structure for the Mosul dam warn that the structure is “increasingly precarious” and threatens to kill 1 million people. They also said the government’s answer has been ridiculous.

The Mosul Dam is the largest dam in Iraq, providing electricity for the 1.7 million residents of Mosul. However, it has a long record of instability. Built in an unstable geological setting, the earthen embankment dam is located on top ofgypsum, a soft mineral which dissolves in contact with water – a recipe for disaster. Leaks began right after the dam was built in 1986, with 24 machines continuously pumping grout into the dam base. More than than 50,000 tonnes of material have been injected, but did little to stabilize the structure. A September 2006 report by the United States Army Corps of Engineers noted, “In terms of internal erosion potential of the foundation, Mosul Dam is the most dangerous dam in the world.”

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