Both reactors at Torness nuclear power station near Edinburgh were shut down on Tuesday, as a precautionary measure, because of a reduction in the flow of cooling water. Remarkably enough, this has been attributed to a swarm of jellyfish, possibly as a result of recent higher sea temperatures. As of today, it’s still not clear when the plant will be operating again.
At one level this is just a funny story, but it also illustrates two important points. Firstly, it reminds us of how the most unexpected events can disrupt organisations: it’s often the things that are so obscure that they don’t even feature on a risk register that cause the greatest damage. Secondly, it highlights the importance of detecting and reacting promptly to warnings of a potential problem: too often, when faced with these early warnings, organisations carry on regardless for fear of incurring unecessary costs or losing face if the warnings come to nothing. Fortunately, at Torness, this was not the case.