Jellyfish recently clogged the cooling water intake pipes at a nuclear power plant in Sweden, forcing the world's largest boiling water reactor to shut down. And this isn't the first time jellyfish have tangled with nuclear reactors.
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Nuclear engineers at the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant on the Baltic Sea in southeastern Sweden discovered a giant swarm of moon jellyfish had blocked the cooling water intake pipes, the New York Times reported. The jellyfish caused the plant to shut down but were prevented from entering the reactor itself by filters.
Moon jellyfish, called Aurelia aurita, are a common type found worldwide and have an umbrella-shaped body. While moon jellyfish aren't considered dangerous to humans, it's debatable whether they're actually harmless. A spokesman for the power plant told the Times last night they hoped they had solved the problem by clearing the jellyfish but weren't sure because they could come back.
Jellyfish and power plants have a tense history. In December 1999, jellyfish clogged the cooling pipes for a coal-fired plant in the Philippines, sending millions of people into temporary darkness during the holidays.