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Golden mussel
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Itaipu develops a program that has increasingly decreased the amount of golden mussel (Limnoperna fortunei) larvae in the power plant's reservoir. The mollusk is responsible for obstructing pipes in the hydroelectric power plant's equipment and also for causing environmental imbalance.

To prevent accidents at the power plant, technicians need to periodically clean the pipes responsible for turbine cooling. The golden mussel control initiative started in 2001, right after the organism appeared in the power plant's reservoir.

The proliferation of this parasite's larvae is monitored by the Itaipu Reservoir Division, while the behavior of adults is controlled by the Environmental Lab technicians. The mollusk's reproduction levels have been decreasing since 2005.

The decrease is attributed to environmental factors such as water temperature, lower food availability, and also to the action of its predators, among them fish of the following species: armados, piaparas, piavas and piaus.

A source of concern, the golden mussel is originally from Asia and has accidentally reached the South American continent brought by the water used as ship ballast.

In addition to mechanically removing the mollusks, Itaipu researches methods to control the parasite, like increasing pipe flows, injecting hypochlorite at low concentrations, antifouling paints, and applying ozone gas at low concentrations.

Ozone gas is used in heat exchanger pipes (where the water cooling the turbine lubricating oil flows) in generating units. The method has shown itself effective in the local fight against the mollusk by preventing a substance secreted by the golden mussel to solidify and adhere it to the structures.

Several South American institutions have been doing research on this invading species in an effort to minimize its interference in the environment, and especially to decrease its high fouling ability (up to 100 thousand individuals per square meter), which could result in the obstruction of several types of equipment.

Prevention is important to stop the mussel from reaching other rivers and causing problems in the intake of water intended for human consumption and irrigation, or adhering to fish farming cages.

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