Wildlife vs U.S. nuclear plants: Flies short-out transformer — Pelican starts emergency generator — Snake causes fire — Bird shuts down reactor… more

Published: March 27th, 2013 at 2:04 pm ET


Title: Fission Stories #133: Mayflies, and Squirrels, and Rats
Source: All Things Nuclear (Union of Concerned Scientists)
Author: Dave Lochbaum, director, Nuclear Safety Project
Date: March 26, 2013

[…] one wonders about the havoc that an individual saboteur or a team of bad guys might be able to cause by malicious intent. Could well-trained and heavily armed attackers cause more devastation than a furry little squirrel or a pesky rat? […]

Selected incidents at U.S. nuclear plants:

  • Pelican started an emergency diesel generator
  • Bird caused […] shut down […] after it landed in the switchyard containing electrical cables connecting the plant to its offsite electrical power grid
  • Snake slithering onto an overhead power cable […] caused a short that caught the wooden pole holding the cable on fire
  • “A large number of small forage fish” blocked the screens at the intake structure
  • Squirrel caused an electrical short in the main power transformer.
  • Bunch of jellyfish blocked the screens at the intake station
  • Mayflies caused a power transformer to short out

Full report here

See also: [intlink id=”tepco-animal-caused-extended-power-outage-at-fukushima-daiichi-nearly-a-foot-long-photo” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: March 27th, 2013 at 2:04 pm ET


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12 comments to Wildlife vs U.S. nuclear plants: Flies short-out transformer — Pelican starts emergency generator — Snake causes fire — Bird shuts down reactor… more



  • weeman

    Murphy at his or her finest, no these are things that should have been thought of, it is true you can not plan for all eventualities, but you have to plan for the probabilities and you obviously are not capable of making objective decisions and cost is the main priority.
    Ie SFP next to reactor in a uncontained building that really gets me mad, how did you get the necessary building permits, how is that safe and into the bargin you have been filling with used fuel, even after 5 years when it has cooled you do not move away from reactor on site, nuts.
    I fail to see the logic only dollar bills.

  • dosdos dosdos

    It doesn't take nature to destroy installations. Workers are fully capable of doing something utterly stupid and extraordinarily expensive.

    I could tell a few stories about people placed in positions where they didn't belong, simply because they knew someone in the upper hierarchy.

  • Replacant Replacant

    Its honestly remarkable something worse hadnt happened before Fukushima. When you look at the tornadoes from last year you have to wonder what happens to a nuclear plant if hit by a tornado when something as random as pelican or jelly fish can cause an outage; a real act of nature, i.e., tsunami will completely override all fail safes. The thing that gets me is when a gas plant explodes it contaminates the area, but can be removed; when Chernobyl or Fukushima happen, years later everyone is scratching their heads trying to figure out how to "clean it up", let alone long term storage.

  • We Not They Finally

    Them terrorists — the squirrels, the snakes, the flies, the birds…. Is THAT why the nuclear disasters will not be letting their descendants live?

  • dharmasyd dharmasyd

    And don't forget the jellyfish who shut down a couple of US NPPs last year by swimming into, and clogging up the water intake systems, making cooling water unavailable. The stories were on enenews, so should be easy to find.

  • We Not They Finally

    Them pelicans sound smarter than a lot of humans. At least they recognized an emergency and responded in kind.

  • lickerface lickerface

    Any chance a journalist can make a tidal wave out of a drop of water, they will. I am not so sure I believe some excuses being reported. This is simply because journalists blatantly lie whether it's by omission or by making up "facts". In my line of work, journalist types love to attack our industry for absolutely no real reason at all, perhaps for an intern's homework assignment. It causes big changes out of nowhere. I'm not saying a bird didn't indirectly cause something big to happen or some problem to be exposed, it's just that I knew that this article and subject matter would make a headline since it's easy for a writer to show off some research skills just to present a pattern and look like a hero (in their own minds), kinda like how I'm doing now.

    Nobody respects most jounalists because they purposefully do not ever tell the whole story (I have found it's because they lack the understanding to even write about certain subjects, and then they insert humor to cover up their ignorance, even on sensitive ELE issues. What the heck?). If they're going to go this far as to detailing the past patterns of wildlife affecting nuke operations, they could have better spent the time reporting more serious issues like others we read here on enenews daily. I find the full article to be a "filler" piece which a bored writer conjured up when sipping fluoridated coffee during a hazy morning. Someone took the time to write THIS to make us laugh when we are losing…

  • lickerface lickerface

    … loved ones over radiation illnesses because of faulty design and nuclear genocide?!?

  • lickerface lickerface

    My apologies for the double post!