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Milestones:Kurobe River No. 4 Hydropower Plant, 1956-63

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Kurobe River No. 4 Hydropower Plant, 1956-63

Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc., completed the innovative Kurobe River No. 4 Hydropower Plant, including the subterranean power station and Kurobe Dam, in 1963. The 275kV long-distance transmission system delivered the generated electric power to the Kansai region and solved serious power shortages, contributing to industrial development and enhancing living standards for the population.

In May 1951, almost six years after the end of the World War II, the Kansai Electric Power Co., Inc. was
established by the Electricity Utility Industry Law, as one of the nine monopolistic electric power
companies of Japan, with a capital of 1,690 million yen (cf. 1,460 million yen of the Tokyo Electric) and
a total power capacity of 2,284 MW, with 1,130 MW by 130 hydropower plants and 1,154 MW by 16
thermal power plants (cf. 1,786MW=1,441MW+345MW of the Tokyo Electric), each the greatest of all
power companies[2]. As for 130 hydropower plants, the numbers of pondage-type and reservoir-type
plants were 32 and 1, respectively, and hence its hydroelectric generating capacity was heavily
vulnerable to drought. On the other hand, as for 16 thermal power plants, all of them were built mainly to
supplement the shortage of hydroelectric capability in the drought season of winter, and moreover they
could not output any more than 70% of the installed capacity due to cumulative mechanical degradation
during the postwar confusion as well as lack of coal caused by the Korean War in 1950-1953[2]
In August 1951, just after the establishment, the Kansai Electric suffered from exceptional drought, and
the power shortage became suddenly worse in the service area of the Kansai Region to such a serious
extent that the worst case in Japan occurred there in September 1951 through March 1952, in which two
and three days’ power cut per week had to be imposed on industrial/commercial and residential
customers, respectively[2]. Furthermore, to satisfy the power demand that was growing rapidly with the
vigorous progress of postwar reconstruction, the Kansai Electric had to make every effort to construct
new hydropower plants as well as to reinforce the generating capability of thermal power plants.
To overcome such terrible power shortage, the Kansai Electric started large-scale geographical surveys
for constructing the Kurobe River No.4 Hydropower Plant, henceforth referred to as the Kuroyon, a well

 Location(s) of Milestone plaque(s):
(i) At the entrance of the Kurobe River No.4 Hydropower Plant:
Address: Unazuki-machi, Kurobe-shi, Toyama, 938-0200 Japan
GPS: N 36.64486 E 137.68964
(ii) In front of the Kurobe Dam:
Address: Ashikuraji, Tateyama-machi, Nakaniikawa-gun, Toyama, 930-1406 Japan
GPS: N 36.56644 E 137.66213