Expectations low for completed power plant

Photos in the Rodong Sinmun from the October 4th opening event for the power plant.
Image: Rodong Sinmun

Despite reports from North Koreas state-run media hailing the completion of the Baekdu Heros Youth Power Plant as a symbol of the great Mt. Baeku nation, the project will reportedly not be a viable source of energy due
to a lack of water supply. It was still pushed forward with in spite of overtly fundamental problems under pressure
from Kim Jong Un. Fear of repercussions from the leadership has deterred anyone
from raising issue with the project, leading to a plant that will not be able
to serve its purpose.

The Baekdu plant only has a total capacity
of 60,000 kW in output, but in reality, it
s much lower
than that because of the old machinery,
a source in
Yanggang Province told Daily NK on Thursday.
promote a power plant like that as a
symbol of the
strong nation
s youth is an

An additional source in Yanggang Province
corroborated this news.

The plant is situated in an area of
Yanggang Province where it is particularly cold in the winter and water
freezes over starting in November. This means in the winter, when water is scarce, the
power plant will not be able to operate at all.

Exacerbating these conditions are the
geological characteristics of the area. With bedrock mostly consisting of
basalt and other volcanic rocks, the idea of storing water is problematic, as
it will seep through the ground and not be able to hold levels required for
power production, the source explained.

She added that in the early 2000s, when
construction plans were first being drawn up, negative evaluations were put
forward due to this very problem.

From what I know, scientists and engineers
at the time continually said it would not be economical,
she said. “Thats why for
over a decade, construction never really moved forward, but this time around,
following Kim Jong Un
s orders people ended up pushing
it along.

Regardless of the results, the source said
nobody was in the position to challenge the leader
decision, fearing the repercussions they may face.

t be able to produce power properly, and it will
likely become a source of problems, so there
s always
the possibility of the site becoming abandoned,
she speculated. 

Theres also the
looming possibility of accidents since it was built at such a rapid pace and in
poor quality; that
s why it will incur a lot of costs
for maintenance, and as always a lot of that money is going to have to come
from residents instead of state coffers.

Even if the facility faces problems and
falls into a state of abandonment or dilapidation, the source surmised that Kim
Jong Un would not assume responsibility but rather use it as an opportunity to
penalize those involved.

She added that despite the massive
promotion of the new power facility, most residents have very low expectations
for added supply of electricity, with most speculating whatever insignificant
amount produced will still go to sites related to the Kim family or treatment
centers and vacation homes reserved for upper echelons of society.

*The content of this article was broadcast to the North Korean people via Unification Media Group.