Seaweed shuts down Torness nuclear plant

The nuclear power station at Torness in Scotland was temporarily shut down by seaweed last week. The unusual cause of the shutdown came in the wake of severe weather and […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The nuclear power station at Torness in Scotland was temporarily shut down by seaweed last week. The unusual cause of the shutdown came in the wake of severe weather and stormy sea conditions in the coastal region to the east of Edinburgh.

EDF Energy which runs the plant said they decided to turn off first one, then a second unit on Thursday night and Friday morning at because of the “increased seaweed levels”.

The reactor’s cooling system uses seawater and can be affected by the seaweed. The plant’s safety systems are meant to take the unit offline automatically if levels rise beyond a set level.

In a statement the firm said: “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. The operational staff are trained to respond in this situation and to take the plant offline if necessary.”