Tepco Says Rat Caused Power Outage at Crippled Fukushima Plant

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said a blackout at its crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant last week was caused by a rat.

Tepco, as the company is known, concluded the 15-centimeter rat short-circuited a switchboard at the plant in Fukushima prefecture after finding the dead animal near the equipment last week, spokesman Yusuke Kunikage said by phone today. The rodent had a scar that looked to have been caused by an electric shock. The company is considering measures to prevent a recurrence of the accident, he said.

The Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant, crippled after a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011, lost power to its cooling systems for storage pools for used nuclear fuel rods on March 18. Power was mostly restored the next day before the spent fuel rods started overheating, according to Tepco.

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