Olivia COMŞA, PhD
Abstract. Six years after Fukushima nuclear security remains a key priority for the international community but nuclear safety and security nexus seems to need a new component: cyber security. Governments are concerned by the continuing rise of international terrorism, maintaining energy security, and preventing the proliferation of nuclear technology.
In the same time, more countries, some of them with important conventional energy resources, express their interest for nuclear power development; for the Golf Countries there is a common goal: desalinization. For the former CIS countries the main reason for the decision to continue / to start a nuclear power program is the energy independency. Dependency on nuclear power, the development of new nuclear plants and the long-term management of legacy nuclear estates prompt debate on the importance of abilities to manage and secure the nuclear inventory effectively.
The IAEA and EU have contributed with specific programs, as TACIS, the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation, the Instrument of Stability, CBRN Centre of Excellence, to the increase of the safety and security in the region. The major contribution for the building of Chernobyl shelter and the involvement in the increase of safety requirements based on the Stress Tests initiative are also important contributions to the security of the Europe. The new challenge of cyber threats for the electricity industry and critical infrastructures obliged the governments to develop strategic partnership toward enhancing grid security. Cyber threats are constantly emerging and changing, therefore the international community must remain vigilant and contribute to the information sharing and continuous educational and safety culture efforts. ”Wherever nuclear energy is produced, it must be produced in a safe and secure way – including the safe disposal of radioactive waste and the decommissioning of nuclear facilities. Failure to meet these requirements can lead to contamination impacting vast areas, affecting the lives and health of entire populations. The EU external assistance programme called the Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC), supports the improvement of nuclear safety around the world.”
The EU policy on cooperation in the field of nuclear safety is governed by the Council Regulation (EURATOM) No. 237/2014 establishing a new Instrument for Nuclear Safety Cooperation. It provides the framework for external Community cooperation concerning the global challenges of improving nuclear safety.
Regarding cyber security, ”Nuclear power plants are highly sensitive facilities that need the extra layer of security measures. Employing an army of security personnel for security purposes will be useless if these plants are vulnerable to hacking attacks. These reports suggest that immediate steps must be taken regarding this issue in everybody’s best interests.
The cyber threat has expanded exponentially in recent years, with a series of damaging, high-profile attacks that have made headlines around the world. Recent attacks against banking and commerce systems, private companies, and national governments highlight the growing gap between the threat and the ability to respond to or manage it. Like all critical infrastructure, nuclear facilities are not immune to cyber attack. That reality is particularly worrisome, however, given the potentially catastrophic consequences of a cyber attack on a nuclear facility. Such an attack could facilitate the theft of nuclear materials or an act of sabotage”.
founder members of Danube Cyber Security Alliance, DACSA