2011 was not a good year for nuclear power – we saw Japan shaken by the Fukushima disaster, solar power became cheaper for the first time, and three-eyed fish were found near a nuclear plant in Argentina. Granted these events, you can imagine how heartbeats must have risen at the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), when someone noticed that the sea around a Scottish nuclear power plant appeared to be luminous green on Google Earth.

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The eagle-eyed citizen immediately raised the alarm, prompting fears there could have been a leak at the Hunterston nuclear power plant in Ayrshire – however it turned out that there is another explanation for the sea’s green color. EDF Energy said that bubbling water was responsible for the luminous green patch that appeared on the satellite image. A spokesman said that like all nuclear power stations, the Scottish plant took in large amounts of seawater in order to cool its reactors and then discharged it back into the sea. The spokesperson said: “The Google shot taken offshore is where out 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.”

So there you go – it wasn’t nuclear waste causing the green color, it was bubbles. However environmentalists have said this false alarm should not alleviate concerns about nuclear power. Peter Roche, a nuclear consultant and former Government radiation advisor said: “No matter how green the glow from Hunterston, it cannot make nuclear power as environmentally sound energy source. “We still have nowhere to put the highly dangerous waste and there are continuous reports of health problems associated with radiation emissions even without any accidents like Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.”

The man has a point, but at least the people of Ayrshire can rest knowing that (hopefully) no three eyed fish will be appearing on their plates any time soon.


Via Deadline News