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Unresolved safety issues in Britain’s nuclear power plants

hackerflag-UKNuclear Power’s Overlooked Insecurity JAN 2017 Wednesday 11TH   Morning Star DAVID LOWRY questions whether enough is being done to ensure Britain’s nuclear power plants are protected from cyber attacks

JUST after Christmas, the Times’s science correspondent Oliver Moody provided a public and political service in exposing the worrying inadequacies of Britain’s nuclear safety and security regulator, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

But while the article concentrated mainly on safety concerns, there are several security issues unresolved.

In ONR’s latest annual report it records that: “There are areas where the duty holder’s security arrangements did not fully meet regulatory expectations.”

Regarding the Sellafield facility, it continues: “A requirement to improve processes in place for Cyber Security and Information Assurance (CS&IA) was identified. A contributory factor in this area was associated with a lack of resources within CS&IA capability.”

I raised these concerns at a nuclear policy roundtable seminar in the past month at the Politics Department at Cambridge University.

It was here where Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe made her final appearance as energy minister, before being moved to the Treasury two days later, to be replaced by Lord Prior of Brampton.

At a conference on December 6 to the International Conference on Nuclear Security in Vienna, hosted by the UN’s nuclear watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Baroness NevilleRolfe made a presentation in which she spent far more time promoting the British nuclear industry than addressing nuclear security…….

A report titled Outpacing Cyber Threats: Priorities for Cybersecurity at Nuclear Facilities, issued by the Washington DC-based Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) at the same IAEA conference, reveals that Britain’s nuclear sector has suffered two significant cyber security failures in the past: one in June 1999 at the Bradwell Nuclear Power Plant — when an employee intentionally “altered/destroyed data” — and in September 1991 at Sellafield — when a software bug led to “unauthorised opening of doors.”

The report asserts worryingly that: “The global community is in the early stages of understanding the magnitude of the cyber threat. In many ways, humans have created systems that are too complex to manage, in most cases, risks cannot even be quantified.”…….


January 11, 2017 - Posted by | general

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