Wednesday, March 20, 2013

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant Power Failure Aftermath: A Small Animal (Rat?) Found in the Temporary Switchboard

No further information such as:

  • What the animal was;

  • Whether the animal was singed or burned;

  • How the animal died; or

  • Whether the wiring had been damaged (by the animal).

What we do know is the animal is about 15 centimeters long, or 25 centimeters including the tail.

Asahi's "Hodo Station" news apparently made a decision on its own that the animal was burned to death, and reported as such. But from the TEPCO's afternoon press conference on March 20, 2013, there was no reference to how the animal, which does look like a rat, died.

From TEPCO's Photos and Videos on March 20, 2013:

3/4 M/C (A) Switchboard box on what looks like a trailer bed:

Workers inspecting 3/4 M/C (A):

The bottom compartment looks fine:

But above, the terminals look burned:

And the compartment wall is sooty:

And here's the animal, at the bottom of the compartment (photo taken from above):

From my personal experience, there is no way to prevent rodents from entering any enclosure and build nests. You have to be very vigilant and monitor regularly, and remove the first bits of nesting materials or shit as soon as you see them. If this switchboard enclosure has been there on the the trailer since March 18, 2011 without regular inspection, I would be surprised if there were no rat's nest.

"TEPCO" stands for Tokyo Electric Power Company. It should know very well how these critters behave.

On second thoughts, such knowledge was probably held by TEPCO's subcontractors, not by TEPCO.


Anonymous said...

Reminds me of that thing about lowly jellyfish.

Anonymous said...

Take heed! all you arrogant high-and-mighty risk assessment managers the nuke industry employs. The tsunami and the mouse lays bare your stupid imprudence.

Anonymous said...

Kyodonews reports that a rat-like creature is responsible.

Let us not forget that it was rat-like creatures that originally built this plant, and rat-like creatures that inspected it, and rat-like creatures that promoted - and continue to promote - nuclear power in Japan and the world.

Anonymous said...

If I am not mistaken during a press conference Tepco mentioned that the animal climbed the wiring and got electrocuted at some point shorting the switchboard.

Besides, from the 3rd pictures above the cables come out from the switchboard and run through some windows closed by removable panels. The white rope used to hold the cables and the rubber protections placed on the edges of the window appear makeshift. In pict.2 we can see some cables coming out from a window that has not been open: they seem to be protected by a makeshift plastic sheet taped against the window panel. I would not be surprised if it were very easy for an animal like a rat to enter the switchboard from the same opening the cables run through.


Anonymous said...

"There's the red baron. He is diving right at me! I've got to... Rats!"
(doghouse riddled with machine gun holes)

Anonymous said...

How did they miss a dead rat the first times they inspected the switchboard?

Anonymous said...

Why is ExSKF still trying to make excuses for Tepco? That is disgusting. You are either highly illogical in your analysis or in the pay of Tepco. It's not Tepco's fault it is the fault of the subcontractors? Gimme a friggin' break. This is too cheeky.

Anonymous said...

I'd be blaming every factor involved, including Tepco for hiring shitty subcontractors. I wouldn't be surprised if companies like Tepco intentionally hire shitty subcontractors to cut costs or something.

Mike said...

This would be a much better story if the culprit was a giant radioactive mutant bunny rabbit.

OK, seriously, "the best laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley." Millions of dollars of technology undone by a small rodent! Not exactly inspiring a lot of confidence in this high-stakes game.

Sean said...

Inthe fourth picture you can see that there was an arc across the center and third leg as they are blackend. Rodents do not really offer enough capacity to "short" a circuit out like that...They just roast. The rodent is prolly not a player in the incident just a coincedence.

Seems to me that there was a huge overload or short circuit down stream and perhaps these connections where not all that tight and heated up...Really heated up. Or in fact these connections where not tight enough to begin with or became loose.

This is called a single phase event of a three phase system and is a large electrical disturbance. Causing immense heat. The dead rat may have been thrown in as a red hering to cover up poor or hurried workmanship.

Still considering the shith storm there this is pretty minor.....

Sheeps out.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

I am rather tired of hearing that I'm paid by TEPCO for making "excuses", after more than two years of non-profit work of blogging about the accident. If what I write disgust you, I suggest you do not read.

Anonymous said...

I'm rather tired of everything.

senrinomichi said...

By gnawing through a dike, even a rat may drown a nation (Edmund Burke)

Janick said...

Dear Ex-Skf (aka arevamirpal::laprimavera) Is not it unbelievable to see sooooo many people deprived of any sense of irony ?! At least you have one admirer in me, I am very grateful to you for the mass of information you manage to circulate and for your fierce condemnation of TEPCO and C°. Keep your irony going, and thank you for it !
Wonderful job !

Darth 3.11 said...

Dear Ex-SKF sama,

March 20, 2013 at 6:24 PM Anonymous is too rude, and did not even have the nerve to post a fake name. Please do not be discouraged. If anyone thinks you are in the pay of TEPCO, they are, well, not quite playing with a full deck.

I join Janick is supporting you and wishing you well. You do so much for us.

BTW, I wonder how many readers you have? Would it be possible to throw up a link showing readership? I sometimes wonder if there are zillions lurking and listening, or just a few of us?

Anonymous said...

Ex-skf is making excuses for TEPCO??? Dude, you, like the Finnish troll, have a major problem with reading comprehension.

Anonymous said...

The rat was obviously electrocuted, there is fur blown off the dead critter. If that is enough to ruin the panel I will leave up to electrical experts. :-)

If this site was on the payroll of TEPCO I am pretty sure it would have a very different angle than it does :-)

Anonymous said...


thank you so much for your reporting work. いつもありがとうございます。

To anyone who thinks Tepco is paying for this blog I would recommend reading the same event as reported by Yomiuri or, even better, Nikkei -- just to get some perspective.


henry said...

I smell a rat...

Anonymous said...

I, too, would like to join those who praise the information continuously, tirelessly, and sensibly provided on this blog site. It is much appreciated, including the in this article so misunderstood sarcastic humor. Thanks for your hard work, laprimavera, and please don't let anybody anger or discourage you!

Anonymous said...

Weird how some cannot get unmistakable irony and/or sarcasm. Go away to Enenews already 6:24 PM.

Anonymous said...

Damn it they can put their heads together and come up with a robotic butt yet are dicking around with NPP cleanup and safety issues.

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