Saturday, July 2, 2011

UK's Nuke Plant Shut Down Because of Jellyfish

Fukushima is on-going, Fort Calhoun and Cooper in Nebraska are surrounded by water, a French nuke plant had a fire, and a UK's nuke plant was shut down by jellyfish.

What is the world coming to?

From Reuters (6/29/2011):

(Reuters) - An invasion of jellyfish into a cooling water pool at a Scottish nuclear power plant kept its nuclear reactors offline on Wednesday, a phenomenon which may grow more common in future, scientists said.

Two reactors at EDF Energy's Torness nuclear power plant on the Scottish east coast remained shut a day after they were manually stopped due to masses of jellyfish obstructing cooling water filters.

Nuclear power plants draw water from nearby seas or rivers to cool down their reactors, but if the filters which keep out marine animals and seaweed are clogged, the station shuts down to maintain temperature and safety standards.

Britain's Office for Nuclear Regulation said power plants follow a pre-planned programme when these situations occur.

Latest plant availability data from network operator National Grid showed Torness reactor 1 would return to service on July 5 and reactor 2 on July 6, but operator EDF Energy was unable to give a restart date.

Operators often take the opportunity presented by an unplanned stoppage to carry out maintenance work.

"We are working to clear the jellyfish from the waters near the power station. This work, as well as monitoring the area for more jellyfish, is ongoing," a spokesman for Britain's largest nuclear power operator, EDF Energy, said.

Scientists say jellyfish obstructing nuclear plants is a rare occurrence in Britain, though it has happened more often in other countries such as Japan.

But since it is happening in the UK, the article has to have a scientist who blames "global warming":

Increasing fishing activity and global warming are giving jellyfish populations a boost, scientists said, potentially making jellyfish invasions at nuclear power plants located near the open sea more common in the future.

"There are suggestions from some science data that over the past few years there has been an increase in swarms of jellyfish. It's possible it's linked to climate change," said Steve Hay, a plankton ecologist who specializes in jellyfish research at the Marine Scotland Science laboratory in Aberdeen.

He may well be right, but the article ends with a more mundane conclusion:

Overfishing of small fish which feed off jellyfish leaves them less exposed to natural predators and gives them more room to reproduce, the Marine Biological Association said.

Read the whole article at the link.

(h/t Irene)


Anonymous said...

Jellyfish populations are booming all over the world. Predators like sharks have been overfished.

Anonymous said...

My hemmoroids are bleeding...

...must be global warming !

It's freezing everywhere...

...yep, that's global warming also.

Al Gore is obese...

...must be caused by global warming of course.

If you are a dumb clueless "scientist"... sweat - just blame everything on global warming.

Anonymous said...

Robbie001 sez:

Jellyfish clogging the water intakes is a common occurrence. Back in 1984 Turkey Point in Fla. was indunated with so many jellyfish that the metal screen designed to stop debris from entering the intake bent inwards 2 feet. The Plant remained offline for 11 days until Hurricane Diana swept the jellies back out to sea.

As for global warming the nuclear industry admits it is a problem it is effecting the ability for plants to exchange heat with the environment by lowering cooling efficiency.

"It’s not the first time high temperatures have affected the performance of the Browns Ferry plant, and extreme heat is a growing concern for power plant operators across the Southeast. While some nuclear plants can improve their cooling procedures to cope with the intake of warmer water, the upgrades can cost hundreds of millions of dollars and still don’t offer an indefinite defense against extreme heat. Because scientists say the Southeast (like many other parts of the world) can expect to see more frequent and intense heat waves by the end of this century, the problems for nuclear power and the people that rely on it for electricity may only be beginning."

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