Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The steps of a giant

The steps of a giant:
The structure you can see in the pictures below is what they call the steps of a giant:

If you look at the pictures above that is a well chosen name if you believe in fairy tales. But in reality this is a man made spillway used to release water from the giant Robert-Bourassa dam in case of a flood. This giant Robert Bourassa dam can be seen at the right in the picture below ( the spillway is seen at the left side of the dam):

The spillway is almost 2 kilometers long and 150 meters wide and each step you see is 10 meters high. It is located in Quebec in Canada. Except during flood periods, water does not normally flow over this spillway. When there is a flood the gates, which can be seen at the top of the spillway in the picture below, can be opened and so the water can flow away very fast:

This way it protects other hydroelectric dams down the river and some towns along this river such as the small village of Radisson. The spillway and dam are part of the James Bay Project. This project refers to the construction of a series of hydroelectric power stations on the La Grande River in northwestern Qu├ębec, Canada. The project covers an area the size of the State of New York and is one of the largest hydroelectric systems in the world. The total project power plants has an installed generating capacity of 16,000 megawatts.

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