Millions of Jellyfish Cause Nuclear Reactors Shutdown Around The World

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A sudden explosion in jellyfish population in different parts of the world has caused nuclear reactors to be shutdown in Japan, Scotland and Israel. 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.

Four reactors in Japan, Scotland and Israel were recently shutdown after jellyfish blocked the screens used to filter out the seawater needed to cool down the reactors. A nuclear power plant in Shimane, Japan, was closed down recently as millions of jellyfish clogged the reactor's cooling system. Two reactors at Torness power station, operated by EDF, in Scotland also had to be shutdown.

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The jellyfish bloom occurs mostly during the summer and spring months. Some scientists say rising sea temperatures caused by climate change may also contribute to jellyfish blooms, because many species of jellyfish are better able to survive in warmer waters. However, this year is one of the coolest years in recent history, so the surge of jellyfish population explosion this summer is mystifying. Apparently there have been dozens of similar shut downs over the last few decades and scientists still are struggling to figure out why there has been such a large increase in the jellyfish population.

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A worker from the Israel Electric Corp. drops a jellyfish into a container at Orot Rabin coal-fired power station on the Mediterranean coast near the central town of Hadera July 5, 2011.

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Jellyfish fall from a filter into a container at Orot Rabin power station near Hadera

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A container filled with jellyfish

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Workers stand next to containers filled with jellyfish at Orot Rabin power station near Hadera

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Jellyfish cover the floor in a lot at Orot Rabin power station near Hadera

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Workers stand next to containers filled with jellyfish at Orot Rabin power station near Hadera

Pictures: Reuters, Dauphin Island Sea Lab

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