Image: NPphotostream via flickr
It's getting to be a recurring problem: jellyfish clogging the water flow that power plants need in order to run. In Scotland less than two weeks ago, they impacted the water intake for cooling at the Torness nuclear power plant. The latest incident is in Israel, where the city of Hadera was left without electricity when the power station's cooling system was flooded with jellyfish.Australia's The Age reports that at the Orot Rabin Electric Power Station, which uses seawater to cool its reactors, tons of jellyfish clogged the filters.
The story also points out that in addition to Israeli and Scottish power plants, jellyfish have in recent weeks blocked the cooling system at one reactor at the Shimane nuclear plant in western Japan.
As with recent extreme weather events and other aberrant incidents in the natural world, the rise in jellyfish invasions could be tied to climate change: as sea temperatures rise, the cold-blooded animals grow more quickly.
More from The Age:
Global warming, the nitrification of oceans through fertiliser run-off and overfishing have also created the environment for a huge expansion of the animals nicknamed the cockroaches of the sea, studies showed.
"All these things individually can potentially lead to more jellyfish, and then we add them all together," Monty Graham, co-author of a jellyfish blooms study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) in June, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Click through to The Age's story to read more or to see some tell-all pictures of the jellyfish at their power plant-stopping work.
On the flip side, as Jaymi has pointed out on TreeHugger, the jellyfish invasions aren't always all bad news: they're good for endangered leatherback turtles, which have been drawn to recent blooms—even when those blooms are well out of range of the turtles' normal habitat.