This is the second time this year that reactors at Torness in East Lothian have been forced to close because of excessive seaweed. In 2011 it was closed by a swarm of jellyfish.
Reactors need large amounts of water in order to keep them cool, and to prevent them from overheating. Seawater for cooling at Torness is filtered, but when the filters get clogged, reactors have to be shut down as a safety precaution.
The station’s operator, EDF Energy, has said that one of the two 640-megawatt reactors at Torness was shut down in the early hours of this morning. It is expected to remain down for the next seven days.
“We took reactor 2 offline at 02:20 this morning (21 November) due to increased seaweed ingress as a result of the weather conditions in the area,” said the nuclear station’s director, Paul Winkle.
“We are aware that at certain times of year with particular weather conditions in this part of the Forth Estuary, seaweed volumes can increase and enter the station’s cooling water intake system.”