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I Smell a Rat


I Smell a Rat

March 25, 2013

  By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Let us not forget that “bug” in a computer system that originally came from an actual bug getting caught in the innards of an early computer. Maybe that should have been a warning for all of us that assume our electrical equipment is free of animal interference.

The most recent example that bugs and animals can play havoc on our technological world is the discovery that a rat very literally might have been responsible for the recent power failure at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan.

Image via Shutterstock

The cooling systems at the plant for four storage pools for nuclear fuel were knocked out Monday, according to a report by the Huffington Post (News - Alert); however, power was restored early on Wednesday for all nine of the affected facilities.

A spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that runs the Fukushima plant, said a six-inch rat was found dead Wednesday near a switchboard, and the rat might be linked to the power failure, according to HP. The power utility is still investigating, though.

Fukushima, as many know, is the site of the March, 2011 nuclear disaster that has been called the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. This is just another blotch for Fukushima, which despite the disaster, will still probably take decades to decommission.

Rats and bugs are not the only animals that can cause electrical havoc, though.

As we reported a few weeks ago, a wild chicken recently caused a brief but impactful power outage at the Maui Airport in Hawaii. The chicken walked into a transformer at the airport’s rental car area and caused a disruptive 30-minute power outage.

While the airport’s tower and air traffic control operations were spared, security screenings had to be done manually, jet bridges weren’t operational, electronically-controlled doors had to be opened manually and power was knocked out for a nearby rental car company, a local hotel and the nearby Kmart.

Not to put all the blame on rats and chickens, a cat also recently lost all nine of its lives and plunged a West Philadelphia apartment complex into darkness when it caused a transformer short, as we also recently reported.

The power was restored quickly to the complex, but it shows that more than just businesses in infrastructure-challenged countries such as India can suffer from unexpected power failures. Even more, it shows that not all power failures occur due to weather-related incidents or natural disasters; they can happen in a local neighborhood like yours or mine.

All of these incidents are a reminder of the importance of good backup power systems. When power is uninterrupted, such systems seem like unnecessary precautions, but when the power goes out, as it did in Maui, backup power undoubtedly helps!

To check out some esteemed power protection solutions today, click here.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
Power Protection Homepage ››

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