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Scientists Warn of ‘Spineless Attacks’ on Nuclear Plants

“Spineless attacks on nuclear power plants” are the focus of an article last month in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that points to a serious emerging threat—not from clean energy hawks who oppose nuclear operations, but from jellyfish that increasingly threaten them.

“These aquatic animals—and algae and other plants—get caught in and block the cooling water intake pipes of nuclear power plants, preventing nuclear reactors from getting the huge amount of water they need every day to cool their reactor cores and associated equipment,” the Bulletin reports.

“Usually, screens prevent aquatic life and similar debris from being drawn into the power plants’ cooling system. But when sufficiently large volumes of jellyfish or other aquatic life are pulled in, they block the screens, reducing the volume of water coming in and forcing the reactor to shut down.”

Jellyfish populations increase when water warms, “but the recent blooms cannot be easily linked to climate change alone, because there is insufficient historic data available for jellyfish populations on long time scales,” Kopytko writes. (h/t to the Ontario Clean Air Alliance for first pointing us to this story…and its headline)