Monday, May 20, 2024

Could Jellyfish Take Down A Nuclear Reactor?


The answer, quite simply, is yes. And it’s happened more than once — most recently, just last week.

According to Scottish newspaper The Herald, Scotland’s only nuclear power plant had to shut down last week due to jellyfish clogging the pipes that bring in seawater that cools the reactor.

And this isn’t the first time jellyfish have gummed up the works. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists reported about this phenomenon back in 2015.

One possible solution to keeping marine life out of nuclear power plants is the use of unmanned drones to monitor those intake pipes.

According to The Herald, a commercial unmanned aerial vehicle company called RUAS has requested permission to fly drones as a kind of “early warning system“:

“The issue is on a regular basis they are affected by either jellyfish blooms or marine ingress including microalgae, that are blocking the intake of the Nuclear Power Plant.

“As a result, the reactor overheats due to the lack of water intake which cools the reactor, creating the need for the reactor to be shut down entirely as an emergency procedure. This has implications when they need to reactivate the reactor which is costly and time consuming.”

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.