Updated: Lights out at Fukushima

Well, TEPCO is pointing fingers at a rat as the likely cause of the power outage which has now been resolved.  

If this was, indeed, caused by a rat of the rodent variety, it just serves to illustrate the potential dangers of long-term mothballing of closed nuclear facilities.

I remember Fairewinds Associates’ Arnie Gundersen describing exactly this scenario a couple of years ago at a UVM forum.


What happens when you or I don’t pay our electrical bill?  After a certain grace period, we find ourselves standing in the dark.

What happens when a giant corporation fails to pay its electric bill?

There is a rumor circulating that TEPCO, owner-operators of the infamously troubled Fukushima Daiichi, facility may be finding that out right now.

On Monday evening, a brief power outtage at the command center  was followed by black-outs at three of the seven fuel storage pools, and in “other facilities.”

The latest published information I could find online could not predict when the problem would be resolved:

The source of the blackout has still not been discovered and until then, the utility will not restore power to the cooling systems. The nuclear fuel in the pools will remain safe for at least four days without fresh cooling water. The temperature should not exceed beyond 65 C to still be considered safe. They reported the temperature of the water at the Nos 1, 3 and 4 units between 13.7 C and 25 C by 4PM on Monday. The No 4 spent fuel pool stores 1,533 fuel assemblies while another cooling system at another pool in a different building has 6,377 fuel assemblies.

Small comfort…”will remain safe for at least four days without fresh cooling water.”

If the deadbeat rumor is true, it is just further confirmation that the Japanese nuclear industry’s culture of corruption and incompetence continues to menace that island nation, while officials deliberately mislead the public in order to save their own bacon.

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

15 thoughts on “Updated: Lights out at Fukushima

  1. it leads to a “nothing found” message.

    At unit 2, the water temp was 15.0 C at 6:35 am, when the power went out.  When the power was restored at 6:38 pm (12 hours later), the temperature had risen to 16.5 C.

    Do you (or anyone else) know if the temperature increases at a constant or exponential rate?

  2. Drones, immigration, the deficit battle, Social Security – Fukushima trumps it all.

    A Richter 7 earthquake or an extended power outage before TEPCO gets those fuel rods out means a cascading fuel pool failure scenario. Ultimately it would equal about 80 Chernobyls, amounting to about half of all the atmospheric radiation released since 1945, except released in a few weeks from one point.

    Japan would become a failed state. Depending on the wind direction it might blanket the Korean peninsula and coastal China, or parts of SE Asia. It might head out across the Pacific to us. The human tragedy would be epic and the resulting economic collapse would spread across the world with the radiation.

    Every country with a nuclear industry should be not just volunteering but forcing assistance on the Japanese. Our necks are on the chopping block with theirs. If we were willing to cob together a fraudulent UN resolution to invade Iraq we should be able to make a real one to force Japan to live up to its international responsibilities.

    There should be multiple coordinated parallel efforts to stabilize and empty the fuel pools and back up the back up mechanisms at Fukushima. The whole thing needs to be transferred to dry cask storage away from the ocean. And fast.

  3. if even possible to put this genie back in the bottle.


    “Now,” he went on,  by utilizing nuclear power, “we are creating something which nature tried to destroy to make life possible…Every time you produce radiation,” a “horrible force” is unleashed,”in some cases for billions of years, and I think there the human race is going to wreck itself.”

    Having seen the light after decades of being deeply involved in nuclear technology, Rickover said: “I’m talking about humanity-the most important thing we could do is to start in having an international meeting where we first outlaw nuclear weapons to start off with, then we outlaw nuclear reactors, too.”


  4. But the pro-nuke people say nuclear power is SAFE!  And CLEAN!  

    So clearly Fukushima exploding can not be a problem because nuclear power is ‘safe’  and ‘clean’.

    Remember that guy that came on here lambasting us all for not knowing what we were talking about when it came to the safe, clean, reliable nuclear power?

    You are all a bunch of environmental crackpots for thinking that there is anything wrong with continually pouring tons of radioactive cooling water into the ocean.  Of course it’s OK, because nuclear power is CLEAN!

    And what kind of krazy krackpot do you have to be to block re-licensing of our 40 year old reactors that have a proven track record of being SAFE?  Since nothing has gone wrong for 40 years, that automatically means that nothing can go wrong for the next 40 years!

    It’s just common sense…

  5. since rats are likely at all of the NPPs around the world.

    Well, TEPCO is pointing fingers at a rat as the likely cause of the power outage which has now been resolved.

    Better get some herds of our furry friend the kitty-cats to protect nuclear power plants from outages. =<^.^>=


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