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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Power workers demand security from government

Power workers demand security from government

K OMPONG SPEU - Security and landmines are the biggest problems faced as

international donors prepare to complete the 27-year-old Kirirom hydro-power

station.

Sweden and Austria, funding the project, have asked the

Cambodian government to guarantee the safety of their personnel working on the

reconstruction.

Some of the area around the huge power station area is

believed to be mined, according to Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy Pou

Sothirak.

"The security problem is the main problem which could hinder

the work process," he said.

The Cambodian Mine Action Center had been

asked to clear mines from the area, while some 5000 Royal Cambodian Armed Forces

(RCAF) soldiers would be on hand to protect construction workers.

RCAF

Division 5 commander Seng Sareu said 1000 soldiers had been withdrawn from

Kampot province to join 4000 around stationed around

Kirirom.

Construction of the hydro power station, which will use water

from Kirirom lake, was begun in 1968 with funding from Yugoslavia.

It was

never finished because of war. The Swedish and Austrian governments last month

signed an agreement to complete the station.

Austria donated $11m for

restoring the water entrance systems, pipe system and power generator, and

Sweden $16m for a network of electricity wires connecting it to Phnom

Penh.

The project, to be supervised by Swedish and Austrian technicians,

is due to start in October and end late next year.

When completed, the

station will supply 11 megawatts of power to Phnom Penh and 500 kilowatts to

Kompong Speu.

The station is sited at the foot of the Kirirom mountain

range, and will be fed by water piped 10km from Kirirom lake near the top of the

mountain. The lake acts as a reservoir of water which flows down the mountain's

valleys in the rainy season.

Adjacent to the lake is the recently

inaugurated Royal Kirirom National Park.

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