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120 MW plant in Cambodia to start operation this week

PHNOM PENH, March 24 (Xinhua) -- A 120-megawatt hydropower plant in western Cambodian province of Pursat will come into operation on Thursday after a Chinese developer completed five- year construction, a senior energy official said Monday.

The Atai plant is invested by the China Datang Corporation worth 255 million U.S. dollars under a concessional contract of 34- year build-operate-transfer (BOT) with the Cambodian government, according to Ith Praing, secretary of state of the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

"Prime Minister Hun Sen will inaugurate the Atai hydroelectric dam on Thursday, March 27," he said. "The dam will help reduce either power shortage or reliance on diesel-fueled electricity in Cambodia."

He said more electricity supply would create more confidence of investors.

Less than 50 percent of households have access to reliable electricity, according to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

China is the largest investor in building hydroelectric dams in the Southeast Asian nation. According to the ministry, Chinese companies have invested over 1.6 billion U.S. dollars in six hydroelectric dams with total capacity of 928 megawatt in Cambodia.

So far, five dams have come into operation, and the remaining 246-megawatt Tatai hydropower dam is expected to be completed next year.

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