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Fukushima Cooling Knocked Offline By... a Rat

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the rats-of-nimh-are-running-our-nuclear-reactors dept.

Japan 123

necro81 writes "The cooling system at the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, responsible for keeping the spent fuel pools at an appropriate temperature, lost power early on March 18th. During the blackout, the temperature in the spent fuel pools gradually increased, although TEPCO officials indicated the pools could warm for four days without risking radiation release. Power was restored earlier this morning, and the pools should be back to normal temperature in a few days. During the repairs, the charred remains of a rat were found in a critical area of wiring, leading some to believe that this rodent was the cause of this latest problem. At least it wasn't a mynock — then we'd really be in trouble."

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Who or What is a "Lat"? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43226715)

Lat? Like lateral something? I'm so confused ...

No giant rats? (2)

Haoie (1277294) | about 2 years ago | (#43226737)

And here I am thinking all radiation makes stuff grow really big, really fast.

Re:No giant rats? (2)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#43226787)

a Mutant Ninja Rat

Re:No giant rats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227117)

Maybe it was a splinter?

Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is full of them an (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#43230009)

Springfield Nuclear Power Plant is full of them and mr burns will not pay to clean them out.

Re:No giant rats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227165)

a Mutant Ninja Rat

You mean Splinter?

Re:No giant rats? (4, Funny)

phobos512 (766371) | about 2 years ago | (#43226859)

RoUS's?

Re:No giant rats? (1)

MrYingster (594507) | about 2 years ago | (#43228109)

I don't think they exist...

Re:No giant rats? (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | about 2 years ago | (#43226905)

Re:No giant rats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43226993)

Don't tell anybody or there will be a panic... but they're not rats. They're housecat-sized mice!

Re:No giant rats? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#43227741)

Or... it's a mouse that mutated into a rat... which mutates into... ???

Re:No giant rats? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43228279)

Or... it's a mouse that mutated into a rat... which mutates into... ???

A dead rat carcass, as evidenced by the article.

Now, what's THAT going to mutate into...???

Re:No giant rats? (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#43228549)

the zombie version of "???"

Re:No giant rats? (2)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 years ago | (#43228767)

Donnie Brasco.

Rodents Of Unusual Size? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227867)

I don't think they exist.

R.A.T (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43226765)

There was me thinking that by 'RAT' it was a Remote Access Trojan that caused the disaster.

Re:R.A.T (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#43228507)

This was clearly a Trojan Mouse.

Yep, a rat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43226817)

A freakin' huge radioactive rat! ;)

Re:Yep, a rat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227403)

This reminds me of the first computer bug [neowin.net] .

Maybe we should name things that cause big problems in nuclear safety systems 'rats'.

Happens to me all the time... (3, Informative)

hamster_nz (656572) | about 2 years ago | (#43226821)

Every other year I have to remove fried mice out of my in-wall stove's wiring, In autumn they try to come in side and look for a nice warm place for winter. I guess they find the oven before they find the mousetraps.

This, however, never makes it to Slashdot...

Re:Happens to me all the time... (3, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about 2 years ago | (#43226881)

Well, your stove hopefully isn't containing radioactive waste.

Re:Happens to me all the time... (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 2 years ago | (#43226903)

Why not? It's a great place to store the stuff. Who would think to look there?

Re:Happens to me all the time... (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#43227069)

Rats, naturally.

Re:Happens to me all the time... (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#43227041)

I, for one, welcome our mutated sentient comestible overlords.

Re:Happens to me all the time... (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#43227119)

Well I'm surprised there isn't mention of how the term "debugging" came to be.

Turns out there was once a software irregularity being investigated in one of the earliest computers. The problem discovered was an insect has gotten into the machine hardware and shorted out one or more components.

This is a serious matter, however, as a nuclear facility should not have things like rats running around. This is evidence that they are STILL not taking nuclear safety seriously.

Re:Happens to me all the time... (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 years ago | (#43227155)

You can't keep rats out. They get in. They are smart and tough and are capable of amazing feats of ingenuity. They are one of humanity's oldest enemies for a reason.

Re:Happens to me all the time... (4, Insightful)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#43227401)

Nah man, they may be a bit parasitic but they're not enemies, they love us - no other species creates nearly the mountains of delicious food waste and cozy warm walls to live in. Sure, they extract a bit of a tithe in grain and property damage, but in exchange they clean up a lot of our waste and share all sorts of cool things like bubonic plague that we might never discover on our own..

Re:Happens to me all the time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43230163)

Oh, silly slashdot. The only place on earth where everyone hates their own species so damn much they'd mod that Insightful instead of Funny.

Re:Happens to me all the time... (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | about 2 years ago | (#43227565)

Is it really that hard to keep rodents out of the house... or a nuclear power plant in this case.

At least it wasn't.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43226843)

a Chupacabra!

Re:At least it wasn't.... (1)

ls671 (1122017) | about 2 years ago | (#43227577)

I remember seeing one resting in a nuclear plant pool in the X-Files...

There's something wrong with this story (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43226863)

I dunno, it just doesn't add up. I smell a rat.

if only it (2)

HPHatecraft (2748003) | about 2 years ago | (#43226877)

were this radioactive rat: Pizza!! [google.com]

They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (5, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#43226885)

They didn't say that the pools would risk releasing radiation after 4 days, they said:

Tepco said it would have taken several days for temperatures in the pools to have risen above the safe level of 65 degrees Celsius, or 149 degrees Fahrenheit.

The company said that temperatures in the fuel pools would have remained at safe levels for at least four days.

A rise above "safe" levels doesn't necessarily mean radiation release. I don't think there's any danger of radiation release until the water boils down to a level where the rods are exposed (and presumably even in an extended power outage, additional purified water could be added to the pools to maintain water levels).

Rat induced power problems are not uncommon in large industrial plants. All it takes is an unsealed conduit cover while workers take a meal break, and a rat can slip inside. Rats wreaked havoc on network cables (both fiber and copper) at a building I once worked at -- many of the conduit runs were left unsealed by a vendor (or poorly sealed by foam plugs that eventually shrank enough to be displaced by the rodents) and the rats found them convenient for getting around the building (as well as a cozy place to live), and apparently they liked to nibble on cables or their feces+urine degraded the cables enough to cause failure. They ended up replacing almost all of the cables in uncapped conduit (and properly sealing the conduit this time).

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | about 2 years ago | (#43226957)

Absolutely dead on. Rats love the plastic sheathing on cat 5 like nothing else. I can't tell you how many times I've had to rerun cables at one customer's business because of rats and mice. Things would start flaking out and it would be a rat chewed cable 9 times out of 10 (the other times it would be a leaky roof). I even told them that they could get a good exterminator for less than they were paying me to re-pull wires.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 2 years ago | (#43227735)

Isn't there a product made from chillies that you can cover the cables with?

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

sjames (1099) | about 2 years ago | (#43228855)

Wiping my Christmas lights down with Tabasco solved the squirrel problem we had.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43226991)

You are making a distinction where there is none. The summary says the exact same thing you say:
  "officials indicated the pools could warm for four days without risking radiation release".

That's the same thing. For 4 days there is no significant risk. After 4 days, then there is a significant risk. That doesn't mean it's "imminent", or that radiation will be released at 4 days, 1 second.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43228249)

You are making a distinction where there is none. The summary says the exact same thing you say:

  "officials indicated the pools could warm for four days without risking radiation release".

That's the same thing. For 4 days there is no significant risk. After 4 days, then there is a significant risk. That doesn't mean it's "imminent", or that radiation will be released at 4 days, 1 second.

What the GP said:
The risk of radiation release does not increase just because the water is warmer. Even after 4 days there's no increased risk.

What the summary said
The risk of radiation release increases because the water gets warmer. After 4 days it could be a problem.

Those statements are not even close to the same.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (0)

ikaruga (2725453) | about 2 years ago | (#43227085)

Mistakes, bugs or rodent problems are understandable. But c'mon, we're talking about nuclear power here. I expect at least some redundancy and fail-safety. Unless we're talking about some soviet era facility, I guarantee you that you'll never hear about such a problem on any other nuclear power plant in the world. It's like they didn't learn anything from two years ago. And Tepco is one of the most well-funded companies in Japan. Lack of money and staff shouldn't be a problem. As a guy who lives in Japan I hate Tepco. Thanks to them my power bill is freaking expensive and yet they can't even do a decent job. What a disgrace to Japan.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (4, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#43227203)

Mistakes, bugs or rodent problems are understandable. But c'mon, we're talking about nuclear power here. I expect at least some redundancy and fail-safety. Unless we're talking about some soviet era facility, I guarantee you that you'll never hear about such a problem on any other nuclear power plant in the world. It's like they didn't learn anything from two years ago. And Tepco is one of the most well-funded companies in Japan. Lack of money and staff shouldn't be a problem. As a guy who lives in Japan I hate Tepco. Thanks to them my power bill is freaking expensive and yet they can't even do a decent job. What a disgrace to Japan.

How much redundancy do you need in a system that stays at safe levels for 4 days after a failure?

I can see having full double or triple redundancy for systems that will result in unsafe conditions in hours or minutes, but for 4 days?

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (0)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#43227489)

I can see that I was modded down.

To put it another way: There's already a 100% guaranteed fail-safe in place to keep the stored fuel safe for at least 4 days after a cooling system failure: the physical properties of water.

What secondary system can you build that can beat the reliability of physics? What do you gain by having a secondary cooling system (to offset the doubled installation and operational costs)?

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43228809)

4 days is apparently not enough. Have you heard of Fukushima? They didn't build it as a pile of wreckage to start with you know.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (0)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#43228977)

4 days is apparently not enough. Have you heard of Fukushima? They didn't build it as a pile of wreckage to start with you know.

I don't know if you'd heard, but there was a major earthquake and a huge Tsunami that took away all of the redundant power systems. It wasn't a failure of the cooling system that caused the

A redundant cooling system doesn't do much good when you have no way to power it.

If you're suggesting that the power plant should have been built to survive the exact disaster that struck it, then you'll get no argument from me, but it's a lot easier to design something to protect against past (and known), disasters than to design it for an unknown disaster that will strike 40 years into the future.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43228867)

How much redundancy do you need in a system that stays at safe levels for 4 days after a failure?

I can see having full double or triple redundancy for systems that will result in unsafe conditions in hours or minutes, but for 4 days?

You forgot to account for the level of danger in the event of prolonged failure in your argument.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#43227455)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is not Fukushima in fact a Soviet-era reactor, or nearly so? They could potentially perform massive refitting of the plant, but that's expensive, you're already complaining about the current energy prices

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (5, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#43227563)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but is not Fukushima in fact a Soviet-era reactor, or nearly so? They could potentially perform massive refitting of the plant, but that's expensive, you're already complaining about the current energy prices

You are wrong. The reactors are Fukushima-I are all USA design BWR's (designed by General Electric, several were manufactured by GE). I'm not sure that "era" means what you think it does...Unless by "Soviet-era" you meant the period of time that the USSR existed? That would put most of the nuclear plants in the USA in the "Soviet-era".

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#43229101)

era, (noun); a long period of time, often marked by distinctive characteristic events.

What did you think the word meant?

And yes, I would consider most US nuclear reactors to be at least borderline Soviet-era, though probably with better control and safety systems than soviet-built reactors. They're old, creaky reactors being operated long past their scheduled end of life, and bear only a passing resemblance to modern reactors.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#43229351)

era, (noun); a long period of time, often marked by distinctive characteristic events.

What did you think the word meant?

And yes, I would consider most US nuclear reactors to be at least borderline Soviet-era, though probably with better control and safety systems than soviet-built reactors. They're old, creaky reactors being operated long past their scheduled end of life, and bear only a passing resemblance to modern reactors.

Well, it just seemed like a weird way to say "20 or more years old" -- usually when people say "Soviet-era", they mean that it's associated with the Soviet Union. I.e. "Soviet era T-54 tanks" or "Soviet era nuclear missiles".

Referring to USA designed reactors as "Soviet era" just because they were designed when the Soviet Union still existed is a bit like saying "The Smithsonian Museum has the Ottoman Era Declaration of Independence on display".

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 2 years ago | (#43230005)

Fair point. But in terms of nuclear reactors not only were they built at the same time, they were also built with pretty much the same technology and goals, though priorities were perhaps slightly different and the US was mostly better at "high tech". Unlike military hardware which was highly customized to suit different tactical and strategic applications.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#43227289)

I used to work in the NOC for a major Telco and when we had outages the techs had to fill out a ticket explaining what caused it. It was a drop down, and the #1 cause was "Lightening related power surge", #2 cause was "Animal - Rodent" About 90% of all failures were in those 2 categories.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

Rhywden (1940872) | about 2 years ago | (#43227355)

#3 for us would have been: Resident felt need to dig a foxhole.

Re:They didn't say radiation release after 4 days (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 years ago | (#43228889)

Rats and mice will chew anything (though they have a weakness for the taste of wire cable sheathing) because like a dog's toenails, their teeth never stop growing. They must be worn down by constant use.

Godzirra!! (1, Funny)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about 2 years ago | (#43226889)

Everyone panic.

Re:Godzirra!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43226921)

25ft rat?

Re:Godzirra!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227009)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLyyUmAXfMY

Movie!

Ironic since Chernobyl was caused by a cat (-1)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#43226913)

Re:Ironic since Chernobyl was caused by a cat (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#43227197)

Not sure if that's just a lame joke, but that was not the cause. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Ironic since Chernobyl was caused by a cat (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about 2 years ago | (#43227483)

You could have easily established that it was in fact a joke had you clicked the link to verify:

Bill the Cat, or Bill D. Cat (according to the final Outland strip), is a fictional cat appearing in the works of cartoonist Berkeley Breathed, ... he was responsible for the Chernobyl nuclear disaster

Re:Ironic since Chernobyl was caused by a cat (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#43227869)

I know who bill the cat was. But what is not clear, from that link or Gray's use of it, was if Gray was implying that a cat caused the disaster - which is most definitely not true.

Re:Ironic since Chernobyl was caused by a cat (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#43227963)

Wow, people aren't getting Bill The Cat references anymore? Shit, I must be getting old...

Re:Ironic since Chernobyl was caused by a cat (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 years ago | (#43229097)

Opus, Bill, and Bloom County rocked liked Slayer! Syndicated strips are presently & unfortunately going the way of dead tree newspapers. Back in the day, it was comics section first to check out The Far Side.

Re:Ironic since Chernobyl was caused by a cat (1)

Kyusaku Natsume (1098) | about 2 years ago | (#43229137)

At our datacenter, in the routine inspection of facilities we found a dead cat in the emergency power plant room. The poor thing managed to get inside the room and stayed under the warm engine block, but when a power failure triggered the power plant on it had his skin ripped off by the fan of the generator's diesel engine.

Image (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43226919)

Image:
http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/technik/bild-890027-475494.html

A little humility (2, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#43226923)

Nature is very good at serving us humility in small bite size portions that can bring great things down. Events like this should remind us that we are mere stewards of the planet and that the rest of the ecosystem will happily take over the best laid plans we have if we let our guard down even a little.

No matter how well you design something nature can and will find a way to get in, and it is arrogance in the extreme to assume otherwise. About the only way to avoid something like that is to have a clean room environment, and I'm quite certain that you can't fit a nuclear power plant inside a clean room.

Re:A little humility (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#43226943)

Nature is very good at serving us humility in small bite size portions that can bring great things down. Events like this should remind us that we are mere stewards of the planet and that the rest of the ecosystem will happily take over the best laid plans we have if we let our guard down even a little.

Isn't that the lesson Jeff Goldblum was trying to teach us in Jurassic Park?

No matter how well you design something nature can and will find a way to get in, and it is arrogance in the extreme to assume otherwise. About the only way to avoid something like that is to have a clean room environment, and I'm quite certain that you can't fit a nuclear power plant inside a clean room.

Sure you can:

http://techblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2008/11/neighborhood-nuclear-power-pla.html [dallasnews.com]

Re:A little humility (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 years ago | (#43227479)

Can you? This article was predicting they'd be on sale in less than five years, and was written over four years ago. They appear to be a little behind schedule. Their website (http://www.gen4energy.com/) still talks about everything as being still on the drawing board; no mention of actual deployment or any target dates or milestones.

Re:A little humility (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#43227683)

Can you? This article was predicting they'd be on sale in less than five years, and was written over four years ago. They appear to be a little behind schedule. Their website (http://www.gen4energy.com/) still talks about everything as being still on the drawing board; no mention of actual deployment or any target dates or milestones.

There's a lot more than physics behind the inability of in newer (and safer) nuclear power plant designs being deployed.

There are other examples of small-scale reactor deployments - like the ones used in nuclear submarines (including the small NR-1), as well as the nuclear reactors used in spacecraft (not something you'd power a neighborhood with, but they are still reactors).

Re:A little humility (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#43227755)

Agreed, politics is by far the greatest impediment to deploying small scale nuclear reactors. I'd love to see small scale nuclear reactors deployed on a wide scale, it's the best green technology that we have. If you get down to it you /could/ fit one of those in a clean room. I was speaking more metaphorically than literally in this case.

Re:A little humility (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#43228063)

Agreed, politics is by far the greatest impediment to deploying small scale nuclear reactors. I'd love to see small scale nuclear reactors deployed on a wide scale, it's the best green technology that we have. If you get down to it you /could/ fit one of those in a clean room. I was speaking more metaphorically than literally in this case.

I think you're on the wrong website - I flippantly ignored the point you were making and corrected something you said, and you didn't call me any names, and even agreed with something I said in a later post.

I think that Slashdot protocol requires that you make a derogatory comment about my mother, or at least attack my virility and/or sexual orientation..

Re:A little humility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43229163)

If you could get it up or stop screwing boys, I wouldn't have to service your Mom quite as often.

Re:A little humility (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#43229193)

What can I say, I was wrong on a point? I'm okay with that, it was metaphorical anyway. Disagreement with me is something everyone is going to do on something, I don't take it personally.

I could be jerk next time if you want, but that just isn't my style.

Re:A little humility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227283)

I can't believe this woodsy wisdom crap was upmodded.

It brings nothing to the conversation but the same platitudes any time some uncontrolled element interferes with safety.

Entropy is something you can't control, very insightful, I raise my bong to you dear sir.

Re:A little humility (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#43227803)

Woodsy? Get real, I'm a guy with many years of experience of making process happen in real world production environments. The littlest damn thing can bring down the biggest damn thing and I've seen it time and again. How do you thing the term 'bug' cam up, as a metaphor? Production is messy and has jack to do with ivory tower ideals.

Re:A little humility (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227921)

You did it again.

Get your rockin' chair out and tell me the bug story.

Your arrogance is astounding.

Re:A little humility (1)

onyxruby (118189) | about 2 years ago | (#43228411)

I'm being trolled, however I'll indulge you anyways with a little history lesson [jamesshuggins.com] as I sometimes answer rhetorical questions. They even have a pretty picture you can look at.

Re:A little humility (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 years ago | (#43227811)

Events like this should remind us that we are mere stewards of the planet and that the rest of the ecosystem will happily take over the best laid plans we have if we let our guard down even a little.

Yeah. We should just nuke the whole thing from the orbit, it's the only way... Oh.

Re:A little humility (0)

SleazyRidr (1563649) | about 2 years ago | (#43228005)

We are indeed "mere stewards of the planet". Which is why we should be looking at the safest and most efficient means of generating the power we use. (i.e. nuclear)

Things like this will happen from time to time, which is why the system is built to remain safe for four days after a loss of power (and probably quite a bit longer than that in extreme conditions.) Granted, it would be a lot more preferable to have a passive cooling system so you don't even care if your power gets knocked out, but then you run into problems with environmentalists screaming "no new nukes" at you, so we'll do our best to keep these old bastards running as long as we can.

They Killed Splinter! NOOO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43226949)

The Ninja Turtles are pissed.

Not true. (3, Funny)

sunking2 (521698) | about 2 years ago | (#43226973)

It was a Rodent of Unusual Size.

Re:Not true. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227063)

I don't believe they exist.

Re:Not true. (1)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | about 2 years ago | (#43227579)

Inconceivable!

Re:Not true. (1)

FirstOne (193462) | about 2 years ago | (#43228227)

"It was a Rodent of Unusual Size"

It was either a mouse or small rat. [tepco.co.jp]

PS. Small animals can tolerate much higher levels of radiation verses those with larger body masses

.

Hamato Yoshi. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227013)

Was fighting Oroku Saki.

So rat is the new term? (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 years ago | (#43227061)

Remember the bug that allegedly shorted out the vacuum tubes and triggered the coining "bug" as a term for errors in computation? Hereinafter all errors in nuclear power plant design and operation will be called a rat?

Re:So rat is the new term? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43228903)

You do know that the term "bug" predates computers of any kind, right? The term originated, at the latest, in the 19th century.

see:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_bug#Etymology

Re:So rat is the new term? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43229883)

The term was already in use, which is what made the reference to 'debugging' (and the insertion of the actual insect in the log book) funny. Why do so few people get this?

And then (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 2 years ago | (#43227099)

James Herbert dies....coincidence!?!?!?!?

Nuclear power fears (2)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#43227363)

When you are dealing with a potential calamity on the scale of Fukishama (or even Deepwater Horizon for that matter) the system needs to be able to rebound easily from instabilities such as fire, earthquake, overheating, floods or Rats. The biggest problem with Nuclear is you need guaranteed cooling for the system to remain stable -- and you can't get that to 100%. Ever. The entire system needs to shift over to one of the less problematic alternatives in order for it to gain wide acceptance.

Re:Nuclear power fears (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227527)

The premise behind Boiling Water Reactor safety that you can build layers of security is simply chasing diminishing returns of mean time to failure. You can only spend a finite number of trillion dollar bills before the economic benefits of nuclear power's energy density disappear. The NRC could be accused by cynical people of making this their mission statement. Next generation reactor designs are fail-safe by design and the core problems that Boiling Water tries to solve are more easily fixed from a blank slate than by adding layer upon layer of band-aids.

They are:
-latent heat causes critical pressure steam in the absence of active cooling.
-steam eats fuel rods
-reactor pressure is maintained at a pressure differential from ambient atmosphere through the use of pressurized containment(this improves carnot efficiency).

You can get the same carnot efficiency through molten lead without the pressure housing. Pebble-bed contains thermal run away with a thermal fuse. Liquid Helium doesn't have the issues you get with other working fluids.

I like molten lead personally, but there are much safer ways to build a reactor than onion peels. LFTR comes to mind, which also addresses proliferation risk.

Re:Nuclear power fears (0)

Solandri (704621) | about 2 years ago | (#43227897)

No alternative is 100% safe either. Wind turbines kill several people every year (mostly maintenance workers falling to their deaths). Falls from roofers are a leading cause of death among home contractors, and installing rooftop solar panels on every home would increase this number. The occasional hydroelectric dam failure kills people via flooding (in fact the worst power plant-related accident in history is the failure of a series of hydroelectric and flood control dams - nearly 200,000 killed). Oil and gas plants occasionally have fires. And everyone knows the staggering number of deaths caused by smoke from coal plants. If your threshold for safety is that an electric power source must be 100% safe before it can be used, then that's equivalent to saying we cannot generate electricity.

If you accept that there will always be some risk, and sort the different power sources by deaths per unit of energy generated, it turns out nuclear is the safest power source man has ever invented [nextbigfuture.com] . Yes the potential calamity when a nuclear plant goes out of control is big. But the amount of electricity that single plant can generate compared to other power sources is even bigger. Frankly, if there's going to be an accident, I'd rather have it all happen in one place, so we can just cordon it off and concentrate all our efforts into cleaning it up. I think that's preferable to having thousands of mini-accidents which as an aggregate kill more people, do more damage, and cost more to clean up. The only advantage of the mini-accidents is that they don't capture the attention of the press and thus never enter the public consciousness, meaning their perceived safety is just an illusion.

Re:Nuclear power fears (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43228169)

You can't cordon off nuclear fallout.

I'd be perfectly happy with nuclear power so long as corruption and incompetence weren't so rampant, (this includes viable solutions to waste management.)

Yes, nothing is perfectly safe, but a field of windmills a few miles from here isn't going to force me to relocate if some idiot does something wrong, as we have to expect will happen sooner or later.

Humans have proven that they're not worthy of nuclear power. Plain and simple.

And damn it, I want to see solar power used to its full potential in the West. It could do wonders as it has done in more progressive countries.

Mmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43227605)

the charred remains of a rat were found in a critical area of wiring

Hey, you gonna eat that?

Pro-green energy rat (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | about 2 years ago | (#43227685)

He was willing to keep it real in protest.

a rat named Shredder? (2, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#43227705)

Last seen training irradiated juvenile turtles to kick ass with medieval Japanese weaponry.

Re:a rat named Shredder? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43228019)

Last seen training irradiated juvenile turtles to kick ass with medieval Japanese weaponry.

I think you mean Splinter?

Re:a rat named Shredder? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#43228051)

Shredder was the bad guy wasn't he...

Clearly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#43228437)

there aren't enough cats in power plants and labs.

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