Rat at Fukushima Plant May Have Caused Blackout
March 20, 2013
TOKYO – The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant said Wednesday that it had found what it believes was the cause of an extended blackout that disabled vital cooling systems earlier this week: the charred body of a rat.
The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, said when its engineers looked inside a faulty switchboard, they found burn marks and the rodent’s scorched body. The company said it appeared that the rat had somehow short-circuited the switchboard, possibly by gnawing on cables.
The company, known as Tepco, has blamed problems with the switchboard for the power failure that began Monday, cutting off the flow of cooling water to four pools used to store more than 8,800 nuclear fuel rods. It took Tepco almost a day to restore cooling to the first of the affected pools, with cooling of the final pool resuming early Wednesday.