Fuel-rod cooling halted by rats at crippled nuclear plant

nuclear rats

Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant halted cooling of a spent fuel pool at the site on Monday to remove two dead rats, the third time cooling equipment has gone offline in five weeks because of rodents.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power said it halted cooling of the No. 2 unit pool, which stores spent uranium fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site, for a few hours to remove the rats and install a net to stop further such intrusions.

Last month, Tepco lost power to cool fuel rods for 29 hours, an outage it later blamed on a rat that had shorted a temporary switchboard.

Two weeks later, workers attempting to install a net tripped the system again…

Monday’s incident follows a string of mishaps including four leaks of contaminated water from underground storage pits.

The problems at the plant, 240 km north of Tokyo, attracted a rebuke from the government and the nuclear regulator, reviving public debate over whether Tepco was up to the task of a decommissioning project expected to last decades…

Tepco has been waging a constant battle to filter and store groundwater that continues to flood the basements of the reactor buildings at a rate of 400 tonnes a day.

The IAEA said that Tepco had achieved the stable cooling of the reactors and spent fuel pools, but cautioned that it needed to improve systems to treat the toxic water and find reliable ways to monitor and store it on site.

Think about this: there are young people going into engineering safety studies at university who will have a guaranteed lifetime career – just working on winding down this single crappy nuclear power plant.

There isn’t anyone with engineering smarts who doesn’t realize the long-term cost-benefit possibilities of nuclear power generating electricity. But, the sum of corporate greed sucking down government subsidies + every potential sub contractor lining up to feed from the same cash trough + essential cost increases in construction and maintenance added in by cowardly bureaucrats = completely negative results.

OTOH, costs continue to decline for all the nature-based alternatives, e.g. solar, wind, tidal-generated electrical power.

But, don’t let science and good sense get in the way of politicians and extractive-industry corporations joined at the hip. A malignant mutation seeking power and profits.

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