Google Earth: Glowing Green Sea.. Near Scottish Nuclear Power Plant

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The Problem:

It is the sort of headline that grabs your attention and suggests doom in the same year that one (of the many) Mayan Calendars is “doomed” to end. Deadline News reports that a local pursuing their countryside on “Google Earth” suddenly noticed that the sea near the Hunterston B nuclear power plant in Ayrshire, Scotland was luminous green on Google Earth. Concerned, they alerted officials to the glowing problem.

The Speculation:

Those familiar with power plant issues raised on CleanTechnica know that thermal power plants need cooling. Nuclear power plants are sometimes located near the sea to admit and discharge seawater for that purpose. While discharged water is not supposed to be mixed with the reactor core and is not supposed to be radioactive, there has also been the alarming case of a three-eyed fish being caught from the same Córdoba, Argentina reservoir as a nuclear reactor. It settles no one’s mind that this reminds one of “Blinky” on the Simpsons.

The “Logic”:

We may not be particularly fond of nuclear power plants, as a human species, so alarming and fearful stories and rhetoric can be compelling. It may sometimes seem to hide ulterior motives and suggests a lack of transparency. But this can also be the technique used against our cherished clean technology projects. The story can be separate from the way it is told. Some radiation has always been a part of our natural environment. Some level of mutations have also been present as long as there has been life. Change is inevitable. Finding a “Blinky” or a bright spot in a photograph are just facts, but it easy to jump to conclusions about them.

More Facts:

A spokesperson for EDF, the energy company that operates the Scottish power plant responded to the alarm with an explanation: “The Google shot taken offshore is where our cooling water exits a pipe and enters the sea, producing a bubbling effect…The other photograph is of our surge shaft, which the cooling water passes through.”

Primary Sources: Deadline | Infobae.com for 3-eyed fish story [Spanish] | Practical Fishkeeping
Mayan Calandar via Wiki Commons


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