Sunday, April 21, 2013

#Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Two Very Dead Rats in the Transformer Box for Reactor 2 SFP Cooling System

(UPDATE 4/22/2013) It took workers 4 hours to remove the rats and make sure the transformer was OK. Cooling of Reactor 2 SFP resumed. The water temperature rose 0.1 degrees Celsius to 14 degrees Celsius during the halt.


They were discovered by a team of workers patrolling the premise. One of the rats, the gray one in the photo below, looks like he's been there quite a while.

From TEPCO's Photos and Videos Library, 4/22/2013:

The box that these rats were found is that small box on the ground on the left-hand side of the photo below:

Cooling of Reactor 2's Spent Fuel Pool was halted as of 11:36AM to remove the rats and make sure the transformer was not damaged. The temperature of the water in the SFP was 13.9 degrees Celsius. TEPCO estimates a few hours for the work of removing the rats and ensure safety of the transformer.


Anonymous said...

So, the spent fuel pools who can whipe out life on earth are under constant threat of rats? Hello pro Nukkies, where are you to tell us that nuclear power is so safe ???

Rumor on the internet that something went wrong in Sichuan, after the earth quake over there. Chinese authorities reclined any help from foreign coutnries... where and when did we hear that before?
Sichuan has quite a lot nuclear facilities. Don't say that is has somethign to do wit it, but would not be very surprised if it did. ( if we ever going to find out )

Anonymous said...

Anon at 2:25 AM,
" where and when did we hear that before? "

- Kobe, Japan, 1995.

Anonymous said...

anon at 3:49
And what about Fukushima Daiichi ???

Atomfritz said...

This is really a bad development, however predictable.

Normally openings in electric distributions are well-insulated so that no pests (insects and larger) can enter and inhabitate them.
This extra work of stuffing insulation materials into the cable duct openings has apparently been skipped due to time and worker restraints.

Now we have to keep in mind that the reactor buildings are all open, free to enter for any pest animals.
Thus, some time in the next years I expect that they'll get infested by insects and rats. From their perspective, it's warm and cosy in there...

The second photo reveals another grave developing problem.

As weed control seems to have been suspended after the accident, the boxes, tubes, cables etc are getting overgrown now, rendering inspection and maintenance increasingly difficult.
Developing problems like leaks will go unnoticed more and more often, until they have grown to a big mess when finally discovered.

Honestly, I do not understand why Tepco apparently doesn't keep the place clean by using herbicides and pesticides. At least they should start laying out rat poison.

Anonymous said...

The really dangerous rats at the Fukushima NPP are the executives. Those are still alive and kicking.

Anonymous said...

Poor clueless rats. Yes, why is there never any good news like: Singed and still smoking bodies of two TEPCO execs. found roasted in between electrical cables in a utilities backroom.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 5:09 AM
Kobe was a clear thing, where help was easy to accept, whenas Fuku is still mind-mumbling to me ( Japan - US murky & secret relations ).
Otherwise and to others, mankind has done a great step in requiring someone to go on a fair trial before being lynched or straped to the electric chair, IMHO.
A last point, one of the bloggers I follow has deep doubts about a rodent's ability to short-circuit a very high voltage (transformer) and strong amp wiring : if it did, with it's tail ! it would have switched of the circuit-breaker for a short while only. If not so it would have been vaporized, and we would only see remains in two burnt parts.
There may be other causes than rodents.

Anonymous said...

Atomfritz at 6:46 AM
One can get rid of rodents in a small location; in such a huge plant, the population of rodents learns to beware of poisons. So unless you want to treat the whole plant with Zyklon-B, or others, whenas it is already rather lethal, another way of co-existing should be found. Alas it does'nt seem to have been thought of in time. Allways the "we'll manage, we'll get rid of them, we will make it clean ideology".

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

From my experience, the only way to sort of "co-exist" with rats and mice is to try to get rid of them by all means and remove the incentives for them to come into your space by eliminating things like potential sources of food and nesting materials (or the nest itself, like transformer box on Fuku I). You see one rat, there are at least 10 or more unseen.

As Atomfritz says, TEPCO could do the weed management, could build permanent structures for equipments and electrical boxes with proper sealing and insulation, set rat traps and poison.

My guess is if TEPCO had asked the plant workers they would have told them about the rats when they installed those boxes after the accident. Just like TEPCO didn't ask them about the super-weed that pierced Kanaflex hoses which then leaked contaminated water in 2011/2012.

Atomfritz said...

anon 10:53:
This time apparently nothing got shorted, as it is low voltage (480 VAC). The rat got warm, dried out, some of the meat got burnt, and then the leak current subsided, as the rat was dry and its electric resistance became higher.
This is a completely different situation than at the previous rat, which caused arcing in a medium voltage (6300 VAC) box which in turn didn't only flip the breaker, but also some higher grund fault breakers (which shouldn't have happened because of selectivity!) causing many other parts of the electric installation to go offline.
This was like if a defective light bulb shorting out would a put a data center out of function. Which should just NOT happen.

anon 11:38:
Indeed, you are right. There is no way except than finding a way to coexist with nature.
But, given alone the danger of radioactivity spread, I'd rather not hesitate to use aggressive total herbicides to prevent overgrow, at least in the critical pathways (like every railway company keeps its tracks clean).
And poisons of all sorts against rodents, insects etc. in the structures.
Maybe this is just the "make it clean" thinking?
On the other hand, this could again help the evolution of some Frankenstein species :)

Atomfritz said...

I am not really sure whether Tepco engineers thought about such undesirable long-term side effects of (inevitably sloppy) temporary installations.
They were in such a hurry to get electricity there at all...

Installing something that matches the codes would maybe have probably taken 5 to 10 times longer.
Tepco recently released some videos of a visit in RB #1. Watching these, I worried a bit about the hazards of the chaotic temporary electric distribution visible there.

And, such things like weed control seemed marginal in the first time, and possibly was just completely forgotten when hectically making long term plans. Hope they tackle the problem before it becomes really messy.

Anyway, I hope the mysterious burns found in Kashiwazaki Kariwa #7 battery charger electric were not rodent-related...

See here:

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Atomfritz, I don't think it's about building to code. TEPCO's highly paid HQ engineers didn't know about super-weeds. I don't think they were aware of rats and mice either. Highly educated regulators at NISA in Tokyo didn't know about weeds and rats either. NISA regulators thought the pond with several layers of thin liners would be just fine to store high-beta waste water.

For the super-weeds, the plant workers did warn TEPCO, and TEPCO decided to do nothing to save money, thinking "How bad can a weed be?"

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