Fukushima's Latest Near Disaster Was Caused By a Hungry RatS

While there's no doubt that the nuclear crisis in Fukushima back in 2011 could have been avoided, a recent discovery suggests that this week's extended blackout was entirely out of their hands. Instead, the loss of power lies in the diabolical paws of a now deceased, foresight-lacking rat.

It seems that the rat most likely short-circuited the switchboard with some casual cable-gnawing, which ended up disabling the vital cooling systems that prevent total meltdown. The discovery itself, announced Wednesday, came about as the Tokyo Electric Power Company's engineers were examining a faulty switchboard for potential causes; inside, they found the charred remains of our ill-fated rodent.

These systems run water to four pools housing over 8,800 nuclear fuel rods, and it took almost two whole days for the entire system to be restored. Though, while the engineers can't be blamed for the actions of a rogue rat, this little episode certainly isn't reassuring in light of the major meltdown just two years ago. And more than that, it confirms some of our biggest fears: rats hate us and will be the forebearers of the Apocalypse.

Stay vigilant, friends. [New York Times via Inhabitat]

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