If people ever woke up to how fragile nuclear power really is we would shut all our reactors down and walk away. There is some kind of “near miss” every year if not several times a year. Pretty scary stuff.
Nicholas Jackson – Nicholas Jackson is an associate editor at The Atlantic. A former media aggregator for Slate, his writing has also appeared in Encyclopaedia Britannica, Texas Monthly and other publications.
In recent days, we’ve seen nuclear power plants threatened by fires and floods, but this is something new. Both of the reactors at the Torness nuclear power station in Edinburgh, Scotland, were shut down on Tuesday afternoon when a swarm of jellyfish clogged the filters that are fitted over the pipes sucking water into the building. With a clean-up operation already under way, officials expect the plant to be up and running again by next week.
The reactors at Torness, which is a second-generation facility and wasn’t commissioned until 1988, are relatively advanced. But despite being primarily gas-cooled, the reactors still require seawater to keep them at a temperature low enough to comply with safety regulations. The seawater is pumped in directly from that off the eastern coast of Scotland, where temperatures have been stable in recent weeks. And that’s part of one theory attempting to explain the increase in the number of jellyfish in the area: They may have been driven to the normal temperatures as the waters in other parts of the North Sea have been heating up.
If global warming doesn’t get you the nukes might. More next week.