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EngineerPaul wrote:

How about the example of jumping into a discussion about power plants cybersecurity, in general, to single out nuclear power specifically? You yourself later posted a link noting that nuclear operations have never, even once, been compromised. So why, other than a desire to bash, would you throw the word nuclear into the conversation? That kind of attitude fosters the dismissive tone in those who respond. You don't like nuclear; we get it. When you look at each thread as a new opportunity to work in a swipe at nuclear, though, people stop paying attention.



It is time for your nuclear power and cyber security lesson.

Cyber security of power plants and the electrical grid are inter-related. Any type of major electrical power generation whether it is coal, natural gas or nuclear is vulnerable to cyber attacks directly or indirectly. For example, a cyber attack on one or more of these fossil power generators can bring down a large section of the electrical power grid.

“The government and electric industry official estimated that simultaneous cyber-attacks carried out on key power generating facilities could extinguish power over huge geographic areas for many months. The economic cost would be tremendous. An economist projected that if one-third of the U.S. had no power for three months, the national economy would suffer by at least $700 billion.”

If the grid goes down to which a nuclear power plant are connected, then the nuclear power plant loses all connections to the grid. The nuclear power plant is then in what is called a LOOP (loss of offsite power) condition, and the plant automatically trips and must immediately start emergency procedures to shutdown and cool down the nuclear power plant. This LOOP condition requires emergency diesel generators to start automatically and supply AC power to the decay heat removal systems and the shutdown cooling systems. This is not a desirable condition for the nuclear power plant and must be reported to the NRC quickly.

The fact that NRC and Department of Homeland Security have not published any actual cyber attacks on nuclear power plants has many possible explanations:

1. They do not share with the public any nuclear power plant security details they do not want these details falling into the hands of terrorists
2. They do not want to scare the public or give terrorists any information about cyber attacks that may have occurred
3. The cyber attacks did not cause enough damage to become a public incident

There are many articles that have reported concerns with cyber attacks on nuclear power plants:

The threat to digital systems at the country's nuclear power plants is considerable, but the sector is better prepared to defend against potentially devastating cyber attacks than most other utilities, according to government and industry officials and experts ...

Cyber attacks have been an increasing source of concern in recent years but the threat was highlighted last month by the first discovery of malicious code, called a worm, specifically formulated to target the systems that direct the inner operations of industrial plants. To date the malware is thought to have infected more than 15,000 computers worldwide, mostly in Iran, Indonesia and India.

The issue is critically important for new nuclear power facilities that would be built in the United States and throughout the world as control rooms would employ digital systems to operate the plants. Those state-of-the-art instruments and systems make them targets for hackers.
A U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman declined to say whether there have been any cyber strikes against the nation's nuclear power sector. Security events, including a computer-based attack at an energy facility, would be "sensitive information" and therefore not released to the public, she said.

“Nuclear power and other facilities … saw six reported incidents last year compared with 10 in 2011, the ICS-CERT report found.”

So in conclusion, you were totally off base to say that my posts were picking on nuclear power. The fact is that nuclear power plant cyber security is of utmost importance because it is constantly under threat from new cyber attacks. End of nuclear power and cyber security lesson!

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