Friday, March 29, 2013

Rats and Humans and Nuclear Power Plants

"When humans ceased to be hunter gatherers and instead became farmers, their lives and those of rats became intimately connected. Humans learned to grow and store grain, and rats learned it was easier to feed off these stores than to fend for themselves. They also discovered that human dwellings provided excellent shelter from the elements. Thus began the relationship between humans and rats. " Source: AFRMA - The History of Fancy Rats, by Nichole Royer

That was the beginning, now fast forward to 2013 and the cause of the blackout that left the fuel pools at Fukushima Dai-ichi plant without cooling power. The power outage was caused after a rat short-circuited an outdoor switchboard. The outage left four fuel pools without cooling power for thirty hours and TEPCO officials scrambling for hours, three to be exact, to come up with an acceptable story.

TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) has now acknowledged in a recent report that it was not prepared to deal with the massive earthquake and tsunami that led to the meltdown of three reactors in March of 2011.

"Our safety culture, skills and ability were all insufficient," TEPCO President Naomi Hirose told a news conference. "We must humbly accept our failure to prevent the accident, which we should have avoided by using our wisdom and human resources to be better prepared."
It would appear also that TEPCO's ability to deal with the likes of a rat are also insufficient. 

An engineering professor at Iwaki Meisei University, Yukihiro Higashi, who sits on the regulatory panel over-seeing Fukushima Dai-ichi safety said, "We learned that it only takes one rat, not even an earthquake or tsunami, to paralyze the plant."  

I hope soon we will all learn before too long that perhaps nuclear energy is just not worth the risk. It is after-all not the only energy source in town.

For the full story see Japanese Utility Takes Blame for Nuclear Crisis 

No comments:

Post a Comment