A huge cluster of jellyfish forced Sweden’s Oskarshamn plant, the site of one of the world’s largest nuclear reactors, to shut down by clogging the pipes conducting cool water to the turbines, reports the Guardian.
The plant’s operator said that over the weekend large numbers of moon jellyfish clogged the cooling water intake pipes at the nuclear power plant on the Baltic Sea coast, forcing the complex’s 1,400-megawatt Unit 3 to shut down, the New York Times reports. The pipes were cleared of jellyfish on Tuesday and engineers were preparing to restart the boiling water reactor, said Anders Osterberg, a spokesman for the plant operator, according to the Guardian.
Osterberg said that jellyfish had entered the pipes at about 60 feet below the surface of the sea, where the plant collects cold water to cool its reactor and turbine systems, the New York Times reports. They had not come anywhere near the reactor, he added, and there was no risk of a nuclear accident.
“We hope we have solved the problem regarding the jellyfish, but we are not sure because they can come back,” Osterberg told the New York Times over the phone. A similar episode happened at the plant in 2005 – and, according to the Guardian, marine biologists said they would not be surprised if more jellyfish shutdowns occurred in the future.