Just another reminder that Nature itself may just be mankind’s biggest enemy. You’d think a nuclear reactor would shut down for reasons like hardware failure, low coolant, or something going wrong and the chain reaction can’t be contained but no, these two reactors in South Korea were shut down because of small sea creatures.
The creatures called sea slaps are small jellyfish-like organisms able to form meter-long chains. They are more active in months like June and July but due to unusually warm currents this year, they are showing up early. In just under three weeks, the Salps were able to clog up the water intake vales used to cool down the reactors at the Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company’s cooling units.
This happened on two separate occasions, forcing the reactors to shut down. According to a research scientist at the National Institute of Fisheries Science, Youn Seok-Hyun, “We can’t say yet if the surge in Salps is due to the changing climate or other factors. It should be regarded as a temporary phenomenon unless we see a continuous increase over the next decade”.
This isn’t the first time marine life has gotten in the way of clean energy. In January, a French nuclear power plant had to shut down four reactors due to fish clogging up the filters of the plant’s pumping station. Experts say that this change in marine behavior is mainly due to climate change, with waters being warmer than usual.
According to Chae Jinho, head of Marine Environment Research and Information Laboratory, “Given the current trend, there’s a possibility we may see more of these shutdowns at reactors in the coming years”.
Another reason for countries to start working towards carbon free policies and laws.