The plans to build the UK’s first nuclear power plant in decades at Hinkley Point will now go ahead. Ross Parsell, Director of Cyber Security, Thales UK, comments on the cybersecurity implications for the protection of such objects of critical infrastructure.
“The decision to commit to the construction of Hinkley Point C will go a long way to ensuring the UK’s future energy needs are met. While new nuclear plants will always attract legal challenges, resistance from local communities and stakeholder uncertainty over project costs and timelines, the reality is that the UK will require 60 gigawatts (GW) of new generating capacity by 2025, according to government calculations. Nuclear power will play a significant role in accounting for these energy needs. Building new reactors could also make a major contribution to the UK economy in the form of a £5 billion boost to GDP and the creation of 32,000 jobs, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research.
“As the UK makes plans for the next generation of nuclear power plants, security must be an integral consideration to the process. Cases such as Stuxnet in 2010 highlight how state organisations are willing to engage in cyber-warfare against Critical National Infrastructure.
“However, it is vital that cyber security should not sit in isolation but rather be tightly integrated with plan processes, people and the physical environment. When managed together, technologies such as encryption, biometric authentication and pattern-of-life detection can all play their part in protecting people, places and sensitive information. All too often, we see physical and digital security treated as separate entities during the design process – indeed, securing the physical premises can often be treated as an afterthought to be taken care of once they’re built.”