A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Russia's Inter RAO and the Government of Georgia to help improve the efficient operation of the 1.3GW Inguri hydro power plant.

The MoU proposes a 10 year programme of measures to improve the efficiency of Inguri’s plant, dam and reservoir, which are spread across the border area between Georgia and Abkhazia.

Abkahzia declared its independence of Georgia a decade ago. Russia last year formally recognised Abkhazia as independent of Georgia, following the conflict between the countries over another region, South Ossetia.

Inter RAO said that talks with leaders of power sectors in Georgia and Abkhazia had taken place in preparation for the pact.

The plant is a major power facility in the region. It is located on the Inguri river and includes a 271.5m high double curvature arch dam with a crest length of 680m. The project was completed in 1980 with an initial installed capacity of 400MW. It now generates approximately 4,500GWh of electricity per year.

In the late 1990s work was launched to improve safety of the dam, supported by funding from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The dam is founded on complex geology, principally comprising limestone and dolomite, and there are tectonic cracks and fractures in the area.