This rat was the culprit behind last week's 29-hour power cut at Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daaichi plant. A photograph was released showing the scorched body of a small rodent found near a temporary switchboard used to supply power to cooling systems for the disabled plant's spent nuclear rods. Investigators confirmed the power cut began after the rodent touched exposed wires and triggered a circuit breaker. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY (TEPCO) SPOKESMAN MASAYUKI ONO, SAYING: "We have found that there were scorch marks from an electric shock on the rat's stomach. Going on that evidence, we believe this small rodent, this rat, was the origin of the short circuit that initially caused power to fail." TEPCO resumed operations by midnight on March 19. There was no threat of overheating or radiation releases after the outage according to officials. The utility now faces a raft of hurdles as it works to decommission the plant in an unprecedented clean-up effort expected to take decades.
March 26 - Tokyo Electric Power Company investigators confirm a rat caused the power cut at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant last week. Sarah Sheffer reports. ( Transcript )
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