Nurek Dam

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Nurek Dam
Nurek Dam.JPG
Nurek Dam
Nurek Dam is located in Tajikistan
Nurek Dam
Location of Nurek Dam within Tajikistan
Location Nurek, Border of Khatlon district and Districts of Republican Subordination, Tajikistan
Coordinates 38°22′18″N 69°20′53″E / 38.37167°N 69.34806°E / 38.37167; 69.34806Coordinates: 38°22′18″N 69°20′53″E / 38.37167°N 69.34806°E / 38.37167; 69.34806
Construction began 1961
Opening date 1979, 1988
Owner(s) Barqi Tojik
Dam and spillways
Impounds Vakhsh River
Height 304 m (997 ft)
Length 700 m (2,300 ft)
Creates Nurek reservoir
Total capacity 10.500 km3 (8,512,000 acre·ft)
Surface area 98 km2 (38 sq mi)
Power station
Operator(s) Barqi Tojik
Turbines 9 x 335 MW Francis turbines
Installed capacity 3,015 MW

The Nurek Dam (Tajik: Нерӯгоҳи обии Норак, Nerūgohi obii Norak, Tajiki for Nurek Hydro-electric Station) is an earth fill embankment dam on the Vakhsh River in the central Asian nation of Tajikistan. Construction of the dam began in 1961 and was completed in 1980, when Tajikistan was still a republic within the Soviet Union. At 304 m (997 ft) it is currently the second tallest man-made dam in the world. The Rogun Dam, also along the Vakhsh in Tajikistan, may exceed it in size when completed.


The Nurek Dam was constructed by the Soviet Union between the years of 1961 and 1980. It is uniquely constructed, with a central core of cement forming an impermeable barrier within a 304 m (997 ft)-high rock and earth fill construction. The volume of the mound is 54 million m³. The dam includes nine hydroelectric generating units, the first commissioned in 1972 and the last in 1979.

The dam is located in a deep gorge along the Vakhsh River in western Tajikistan, about 75 km (47 mi) east of the nation's capital of Dushanbe. A town near the dam, also called Nurek, houses engineers and other workers employed at the dam's power plant.

Electricity generation[edit]

A total of nine hydroelectric Francis turbines are installed in the Nurek Dam. Originally having a generating capacity of 300 megawatts each (2.745 gigawatts total), they have since been redesigned and retrofitted such that they now combine to produce 3.015 gigawatts. As of 1994, this formed most of the nation's 4.0 gigawatt hydroelectric generating capacity, which was adequate to meet 98% of the nation's electricity needs.[1]


Nurek reservoir

The reservoir formed by the Nurek Dam, known simply as Nurek, is the largest reservoir in Tajikistan with a capacity of 10.5 km³. The reservoir is over 70 km (40 mi) in length, and has a surface area of 98 km2 (38 sq mi). The reservoir fuels the hydroelectric plant located within the dam, and stored water is also used for irrigation of local agricultural land. Irrigation water is transported 14 kilometers through the Dangara irrigation tunnel and is used to irrigate about 700 km2 (300 sq mi) of farmland. It is suspected that the reservoir may be causing induced seismicity.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Ghasimi, Reza (1994). Tajikistan. The International Bank for Reconstruction. p. 138. ISBN 0-8213-3105-1. 

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