South Korean nuclear power plant closed for the second time in three weeks due to the influx of marine invertebrates

Published:

8 abr 2021 18:22 GMT

Korean waters have seen an increase in the number of salps for years, jellyfish-like organisms that feed on phytoplankton.

The Hanul nuclear power plant, located on the east coast of South Korea, suspended the operation of two reactors on April 6 because numerous invertebrates clogged its water cooling system, reports the Donga portal.

The culprits were salpids, small invertebrate marine organisms similar to jellyfish that caused the second incidence of this type in three weeks: they already caused an eight-day suspension in the activity of that facility at the end of March.

The deputy director of the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology, Yu Ok-hwan, explained to the Bloomberg agency that these gelatinous creatures usually proliferate in Korean waters in June, so it is unknown why they anticipated their appearance this year.

“We still cannot say if the increase in the number of salps is due to climate change or other factors. It should be considered as a temporary phenomenon, unless we see a continuous increase over the next decade,” explained this specialist.

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For his part, the director of the Marine Environment Research and Information Laboratory, Chae Jin-ho, warns that the increase in salpids has been registered for several years and, “given the current trend, there is the possibility that we will see more than these shutdowns in the reactors in the coming years. “

Salps measure up to 10 centimeters, move by contraction when draining water and have a complex life cycle: they combine phases of sexual and asexual reproduction, which allow them to create chains of clones called blastozoids and multiply rapidly if there is an abundance of phytoplankton with which they are they feed.

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