IEC plant in Hadera (illustrative)
IEC plant in Hadera (illustrative)Israel news photo: Flash 90

Jellyfish have become the latest threat to Israeli energy consumption.

The stinging sea creatures are swarming into the Mediterranean shoreline and are being sucked into ducts at Hadera's Orot Rabin Electric Power Station, which uses sea water for cooling.

According to Israel Electric Company power station worker Nachum Plaumbaum, the jellyfish are being sucked into the system despite filters. Workers are forced to dispose of large schools of the creatures, which are often clumped together in a big pile of goop.

Aside from the fact that the employees risk being stung while trying to clear the creatures out of the system, there are other, more serious concerns.

“They're blocking the cooling system,” Plaumbaum explained, “and they diffuse to become gels. The gel blocks the condenser and interrupts the condensing of steam.” It is possible, he added, the jellyfish could even temporarily create a blackout in numerous cities by stopping the power plant from generating electricity.

Jellyfish have disabled power plants in a similar manner in several other countries, including causing a cascading blackout in the Philippines in 1999 and one in the Diablo Canyon Power Plant in California last year.

Clogging also causes problems with stoppage of nuclear power plants – which also use sea water for cooling purposes – and desalination plants.