An invasion of jellyfish managed to stop operations at a nuclear power plant in eastern Scotland after high volumes of the creatures flooded water filters and clogged the cooling system.
EDF Energy’s Torness nuclear power station near Dunbar, East Lothian uses seawater to cool its reactors and on June 28 a large influx of jellyfish were “sucked in” as the part of the process and blocked the water screens, reported Sky News.
Operators manually shut down the two reactors at the facility as a precautionary measure.
A spokesperson for EDF Energy told Sky News, “At no time was there any danger to the public.”
Staff also reassured the community the event had no impact on the environment.
“Reduced cooling water flows due to ingress from jelly fish, seaweed and other marine debris are considered as part of the station’s safety case and are not an unknown phenomenon,” reported AFP.
Work is underway to clear the jellyfish from the waters near the power station. The surge of jellyfish in the area is believed to have occurred because of a rise in the temperature in the North Sea.
Since 2002 scientists have noted massive increases in jellyfish populations around the world. Some attribute this to overfishing, declining water quality and rising sea temperatures. Jellyfish are some of the only creatures that can survive in “oxygen-starved Dead Zones.” And in many parts of the world they have lost their main predator, the sea turtle.
Jellyfish are not the only animals to become trapped in nuclear plants. Earlier this month, an Atlantic Grey Seal chased a school of fish into the cooling system at another nuclear station. The seal, named Celia by staff wasn’t hurt, but could not swim away without help. She was examined by a veterinarian and released at a nearby beach.
Photo: Creative Commons Sam Howzit