The Itaipu Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the border between Paraguay and Brazil. The Parana River, which forms a natural barrier between the two countries, was used to power this dam. The idea for a hydroelectric plant that would use the Parana River as its source of energy began in the 1960s. The dam was officially opened in the 1980s. The Itaipu Dam was deemed so amazing by the American Society of Civil Engineers that it was named one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Itaipu is a Japanese word that means “the sounding stone.” It was named after a small island near the dam’s construction site.
On July 22, 1966, Paraguay and Brazil signed an agreement to build the dam. The building process did not begin until 1971.
Itaipu Dam is a 738-foot-high, 4.8-mile-long series of dams.
Itaipu Dam consists of four dams: a concrete wing dam, a main concrete dam, a rock-fill dam, and an earth-fill dam.
The flow of the Parana River had to be diverted in order for construction to begin. The Parana River is one of the world’s largest rivers.
To divert the water, more than 50 million tons of earth and rock had to be moved. This channel measured 1.3 miles in length, 300 feet in depth, and 490 feet in width.
The dam required 40,000 workers to complete. The vast majority of these employees were from Brazil. 149 of them were killed during the construction process. It took seven years to construct.
During construction, more than 10,000 families had to be relocated to make way for the channel that would divert the water.
The dam required 12.3 million cubic meters of concrete to construct.
To properly cure the concrete, they needed to use large refrigeration units equivalent to 50,000 deep freezers.
Itaipu Dam used enough steel and iron to construct 380 replicas of the Eiffel Tower.
There are 28 massive turbines in a half-mile-long power house in the main concrete dam at Itaipu. Each of these turbines weighs 800 pounds and measures 53 feet in diameter.
In 2008, the Itaipu Dam produced 94,684 megawatts. This is the most power ever generated by a single dam.
Every day, this dam generates the equivalent amount of energy as burning 434,000 barrels of oil.
It meets approximately 78 percent of Paraguay’s energy needs.
Guaira Falls, once regarded as the most spectacular water feature in the world, was submerged when the reservoir was filled. The falls were also blown up with dynamite to make the river safer to navigate.
Guaira Falls was twice as tall as Niagara Falls and had twice the water flow.
Itaipu Dam generates six times the power of the Hoover Dam, is ten times the weight, and is 18 times the size.
Itaipu Dam is roughly the height of a 65-story building.
Itaipu Dam is one of the modern world’s seven wonders.