World's 3rd Largest Dam?Brazil already has, jointly with Paraguay, the world’s 2nd largest dam, Itaipu. Only China’s Three Gorges is bigger. Now the Brazilian government has granted an environmental licence for the Belo Monte dam on the Xingu River tributary of the Amazon, near Altamira in Northern Brazil. Information on the project varies widely. Cost estimates vary from US$4000 million [Brazil’s President Lula] to more than US$16 000 million [Alstom, World #1 hydro supplier]. Even the power output is disputed: installed capacity will be 11 000 MW, but critics note that ‘only’ 1000 MW will be usable in low-flow periods. [New Zealand’s largest power station at Lake Manapouri is 710 MW.] Critics also say flooding 500 km2 of land would affect the lives of up to 40 000 people, devastate rainforest and damage ecosystems including fish stocks.