The Masjid-e Soleiman project features a 170-metre-high rockfill dam structure with a central clay core, covering a width of about 650 metres at foundation level. The dam has been designed to withstand earthquakes up to a magnitude of 7.5 on the Richter scale. The water reservoir has a volume of almost 290 million cubic metres.

Other elements of the project include two diversion tunnels with a capacity of 2,900 cubic metres a second (cm/s) of water, power inlet and outlet structures for 1,500 cm/s of water, headrace and tailrace tunnels, as well as a chute spillway with the capacity to discharge floods of 21,700 cm/s. The first set of turbines is located in an underground powerhouse cavern, which is to be expanded over the next three years to accommodate additional turbines.

The expansion phase will involve the installation of another four 250-MW turbines. The power facility is set to become fully operational in 2005.

The general contractor is the local FARAB, an Energy Ministry affiliate. Europe’s ABB in 1998 won the order to supply mechanical and electromechanical equipment for the expansion of several hydroelectric dams, including Masjid-e Soleiman. Additional electromechanical equipment was sourced from local and European suppliers (MEED 11:12:98).

A team of Germany’s Lahmeyer International, the local Moshanir Power Engineering Consultantsand Japan’s Nippon Koeiare providing consultancy services on the scheme.

Nippon Koei joined the Lahmeyer/Moshanir team in late 1994, following the agreement by the Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) to extend a major loan for the project. JBIC has so far issued two loan tranches totalling Y45,500 million ($345 million) to support the scheme.

The Masjid-e Soleiman project is one of several hydropower schemes along the Karun river aimed at adding much-needed new power to Iran’s installed capacity of 30,000 MW. Estimates put the waterway’s power generation potential at up to 20,000 MW (Iran, MEED Special Report, 15:2:02, pages 29-30).