Workers at the plant are reporting seeing rats at Daiichi. Worker Happy11311 mentioned seeing them and was worried they would damage cables at the plant. They could cause obvious safety problems if they chewed on electrical or water lines. Small animals also pose the risk of getting into equipment and causing issues by tripping electrical systems. Then there is the problem of rats being in contact with high levels of radiation then making them highly contaminated. This can cause problems as they then spread the contamination up the food chain or take it with them if they leave the immediate area.
TEPCO successfully pulled the steel beam that had fallen in the spent fuel pool of #3 back in October. They did a practice run and installed some safety bumpers to avoid damaging the pool liner. The 7-meter, 470kg steel beam was removed with a claw attachment on one of the large overhead cranes. Our research team did manage to watch part of the removal process on the TEPCO live camera yesterday. The work progressed very slowly. Between the trial runs and the caution used in the actual work, TEPCO apparently felt the work was high risk. TEPCO handout of the work at #3
TEPCO also announced work under way in the Common Pool. The large fuel storage facility has begun inspecting a variety of fuel assemblies stored in the pool for any possible damage from the quake. They will also be inspecting fuel racks to look for damage. This is part of the larger process to prepare fuel to be removed to casks to make room for fuel from the spent fuel pools. They plan to have the inspection work completed in mid-2013.
TEPCO’s handout: CommonPoolInspection_handouts_121220_01-e
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