Video: keeping communities safe at the São Simão hydroelectric plant, Brazil

The 1,710 MW São Simão hydroelectric plant, perched on the border of the Brazilian states of Goiás and Minas Gerais, provides energy to 6 million homes.

Completed in 1978 and operated by SPIC Brasil, the project has provided clean power to communities for over four decades. It has also been rated as one of the safest dams in the world.

The security risk at the project is close to zero. But what would actually happen in the unlikely case of an accident? The plant’s operating team has worked closely with residents in nearby areas to ensure that everybody knows the drill.

A new video published ahead of Global Hydropower Day takes a closer look at the measures and technology solutions in place at São Simão to keep local communities safe. You can watch the video in full here:

The video shows a series of safety drills that took place in September 2022, involving the population of Chaveslândia, an industrial site close to the reservoir, and people who live in nearby rural areas.

Local residents are engaged in safety protocols at São Simão in a variety of ways. A mobile app has been created for communities that live within the vicinity of the dam, which will notify them in place of emergency and explain the steps they need to follow.

A highly trained safety team is employed at the dam, making regular checks to ensure there is no damage. Specialist equipment is also used to calculate and monitor the stability of the dam, and identify any potential issues.  

These safety initiatives meet and exceed what is set out in Brazil’s national dam safety policy, which requires projects like this to have robust measures in place.

To date, a real emergency signal has never needed to be sent at the São Simão hydroelectric plant. But if the moment arises, the team on-site and people in the surrounding areas will be ready.

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