6:05pm

Wed July 6, 2011
The Two-Way

Millions Of Jellyfish Threaten To Shutdown Israeli Power Plant

Workers at a power plant in Hadera, Israel are battling a sticky problem: Israel Electric Corp. is warning that jellyfish could shut down a turbine plant and cause rolling blackouts in Israeli cities.

The turbines are cooled using seawater and as the plant sucks in water the jellyfish come with it. Over the past three days, workers say they've removed about 100 tons of jellyfish from the filters.

MSNBC reports:

"When we suck the water, we also suck the jellyfish," explained Rafi Nagar, the chief maintenance officer at the Israel Electric Corp. near the town of Hadera. "And if we let them go through the filters, they can cause the plant to shut down, leaving millions of Israelis without electricity."

Nagar has been working 24/7 to combat the enormous number of jellyfish.

...

Nagar's crew has been nicknamed the "Jellyfish Busters." They wear special goggles, rubber gloves and long-sleeve shirts and pants to help them protect themselves from the stings. They use long poking iron sticks to pull the jellyfish off of the filters, piling them into huge canisters. Nagar says that in his 33 years at the electric company he has never seen anything quite like this.

MSNBC adds that about 200 million jellyfish have migrated to the Israeli coast because they have no natural predators there. The "meduzot," as they are known, are considered an invasive species.

The Daily Mail in the U.K. reports that, yesterday, the Torness nuclear facility in Scotland was temporarily shutdown after jellyfish blocked its seawater supply.

If you have the stomach for it, here's a video of the Israeli jellyfish from BBC Mundo:

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.