A large group of marine salps, a small gelatinous animal and very similar with the living waters it became a nightmare in South Korea. The animals, about 10cm high, managed to completely obstruct and cause the shutdown of two nuclear reactors. 

Os agencies entered a system that is used for cooling Hanul 1 and 2 reactors, from operator Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power on at least two different occasions. In one of them, at the end of March, the equipment, which together generates 950 megawatts, went off the air for about a week. 


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Marine salps are capable of forming immense chains, which can be found wandering the ocean. However, this usually happens only around the month of June, between late spring and early summer in the North hemisphere. Due to warmer sea currents, these animals are appearing in increasing numbers. 

Cause may have to do with climate change

Nuclear power plant in Hanul, South Korea, is one of the ten largest in the world. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Some researchers suggest that marine salps have spread significantly around the world because of climate changes. As the oceans are getting warmer, this makes it the perfect environment for breeding and feeding these animals. 

And as the forecast is that the water will get hotter and hotter in the oceans, it is possible that stoppages for this reason will become common. "Given the current trend, it is possible that we will see more of these reactor outages in the coming years," said the head of the Marine Research and Information Laboratory, Chae Jinho. 

In January, a nuclear power plant in France also had to shut down four of its reactors because some fish were trapped in the filters of the station's pumping system. 

With information from Futurism 

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