Mussels Close German Power Plant

B. McPherson
Small but a big problem -- zebra mussels
Warmer ocean temperatures are blamed for the shutdown of a major electrical producer in Germany. The EON SE plant at Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea was forced to shut operations because of marine mussel infestation. 
The power plant normally produces enough electricity to light 1.5 million homes.

“We usually scrape tons of mussels out of the area where the cooling water flows during the plant’s usual revisions, but this time there were so many that we couldn’t wait for the next inspection,” Markus Nitschke, a spokesman for EON, said by phone from Dusseldorf today. “The warmer temperatures have caused this infestation.” Bloomberg News

Invasive mussels are causing additional expense and operating hazards around the world. Some species may be native to an area, but slight changes in their environment like temperature change may favour more rapid reproduction. Other species are introduced to an area where there are no natural checks on their growth. Sometimes, advanced technology can be used to discourage the mollusk growth.

The EON power plant in Oresundsverket, Sweden, employs shots of hypochlorite(a fancy name for bleach) to fight the pesky critters.

Zebra and Quagga mussels are causing fouling problems in many areas of N. America, leading to reduced efficiency in operating power plants as well as water intake pipes for industry and drinking water. The Zebra mussels, native to Turkey, have now spread around most of the world causing billions of dollars in damage and lost production.

Suggested methods to control infestation:
·         Chlorine
·         Drain area during cold weather
·         Sulfuric acid
·         Silicon coating of pipes
·         predators
Bloomberg News       

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