It will take six months to restore power supply to the national grid at the Neelum Jhelum hydropower project, which has been non-operational since July 6.
There was a blockage in the tail race tunnel of the 969 MW project, which resulted in a malfunction. A geological failure in the tunnel is suspected, but the real cause will be found once the dewatering process is completed, according to top energy ministry officials.
A major crack in the tailrace tunnel of the 969-megawatt Neelum-Jhelum hydropower project has forced the closure of the project, which was completed at an estimated cost of about Rs508bn.
A preliminary report informed PM Shehbaz that the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) had no idea about the magnitude of the loss.
Water is being pumped into the tunnel to remove the blockage, the premier was informed.
There was a water blockage of 3.5 kilometers in the tunnel area, but Wapda authorities were unaware of the exact location and magnitude of the damage.
Participants were informed that the country had been deprived of cheaper 969 MW hydropower during the summer season when additional electricity was needed to overcome prolonged power outages.
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Area of Neelum Jhelum
The project is one of its kind as 10 percent of the dam portion of the project is on the surface and 90 percent is underground with a waterway system comprising 52km tunnels.
It generated electricity for four years at a cost of Rs9 per unit, but when its underground tail race tunnel was blocked on July 06, 2022, the project came to a halt.
AJK’s powerhouse is located near Chatter Kalas in AJK, where the Neelum water will be diverted by tunnels at Nauseri, 41 km upstream from Muzaffarabad.
So far, the project has generated 18.2 billion units with annual revenue of Rs50 billion and generates 5.15 billion units annually.