For the first time, a small jellyfish-like animal called a sea salp has forced the shutdown of Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
Plant operators and marine biologists say a convergence of natural factors caused the unlikely event.
“Both biology and ocean physics have teamed up against Diablo Canyon,” said Mark Moline, a marine biology professor at Cal Poly.
The event began Tuesday when southerly winds began blowing the salps into the plant’s cooling water intake cove. Plant operators noticed differences in water pressure at the intake structure, indicating the salps were beginning to clog the rolling screens in front of the intake, said Ed Halpin, PG&E’s chief nuclear officer.