‘Rat-like animal’ blamed for Fukushima blackout — Rodent able to endanger nuclear plant? (PHOTO)

Published: March 20th, 2013 at 9:57 am ET
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Kyodo News: The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant said Wednesday it suspects a rat-like animal of causing a short circuit in a switchboard that may have led to the power outage at the plant, disabling cooling systems for spent fuel pools earlier this week. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it found burn marks on a makeshift power switchboard on Wednesday and a dead animal nearby. The utility suspects excess current caused by an unknown reason led to the blackout.

AP: Masayuki Ono, spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, says a 15-centimeter (6-inch) rat was found dead Wednesday near a switchboard. He says the rat may be linked to the power failure, but that more investigation is needed to be sure.

WSJ: The prospect that a small animal could trigger the blackout underscores the facility’s vulnerability, two years after a massive earthquake and tsunami knocked out power to the reactors, triggering a nuclear disaster.

See also: Fukushima Worker: Rats now being found in many places around plant -- Concern about biting cables, tripping electrical systems, spreading high level contamination

Published: March 20th, 2013 at 9:57 am ET
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