Roving jellyfish and seaweed have long been unwanted guests at Scotland’s last two nuclear power stations. Now the marine algae have hit again, forcing one of the plants to partially power down despite freezing temperatures pushing up demand for electricity. During last week’s cold weather, excessive amounts of seaweed entered the cooling system of the Torness plant in East Lothian, causing one reactor to be closed on Thursday. Its owner, EDF Energy, said the measure had been taken due to the “risk of marine ingress”. After several days of reduced output, the power station was gradually returning to full power on Monday. It is not the first time that Torness has been affected by seaborne nuisances. The site was closed twice in 2013 due to seaweed clogging the plant’s cooling system, and jellyfish caused the plant’s units to temporarily shut down in 2011. Torness, which opened in 1988, was scheduled to close in 2023 but two years ago EDF Energy announced it was extending the plant’s lifetime to 2030 to maintain secure electricity supplies.
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