Britain’s nuclear industry is under threat from cyber-attacks, terrorism and state-sponsored espionage, regulators have warned. Buried in the Office for Nuclear Regulation’s 2016-20 strategic plan are bleak references to the growing threat of attack on Britain’s 15 operational reactors, which account for nearly a fifth of the country’s electricity. The Independent has established this is the first time that the ONR has explicitly acknowledged the growing terrorist threat to the nuclear industry. The document states: “The threat of terrorism in the nuclear sector will continue to be managed proportionately and effectively through national and international capabilities. The capabilities of potential adversaries to operate in cyberspace will continue to grow.” At the top of a list of the industry’s corporate risks, the ONR writes: “Failure to protect the confidentiality, integrity and availability of sensitive information and assets from both known and emerging security threats to the UK nuclear infrastructure (eg, cyber-attacks, terrorist activity, state-sponsored espionage).” The news comes at a sensitive time, with French giant EDF weighing up whether to risk its balance sheet on building a £24.5bn reactor at Hinkley Point on the Somerset coast. John Large, the nuclear expert who warned in a 2014 report for the French authorities that reactors are highly vulnerable to drone attacks, said the admission was “a step forward”, but warned: “It might be too late. The problem is that the plants were designed in the 1950s and 1960s and those designs ignored terrorism. That’s one of the problems they [the nuclear industry] face.
Independent 26th March 2016 read more »