A couple news articles about possible cyber attacks on NPPs

Kurt Sellner
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Joined: Nov 14, 2013 7:47 pm
Location: Iowa, USA

A couple news articles about possible cyber attacks on NPPs

Post by Kurt Sellner » Oct 17, 2016 3:12 am

From the Chicago Tribune:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-wp-ja ... story.html
TOKYO - A research center at the University of Toyama famous for its work on tritium, a substance used to fuel nuclear fusion reactors, is feared to have been targeted by cyber-attacks over a period of about six months, according to an internal investigation by the university and other sources.
An examination revealed that the compressed files leaked in March this year contained the results of research into how to remove contaminated water discharged from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
From Reuters:
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nucle ... SKCN12A1OC
A nuclear power plant became the target of a disruptive cyber attack two to three years ago, and there is a serious threat of militant attacks on such plants, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Monday.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director Yukiya Amano also cited a case in which an individual tried to smuggle a small amount of highly enriched uranium about four years ago that could have been used to build a so-called "dirty bomb".
The media is trying to tie a cyber attack on a couple nuclear power plants to the possibility of constructing a radioactive dirty bomb because someone tried to steal some uranium years ago. Where do I begin on the failed logic and twisting of the facts the media seems to be doing here to make this sound scary? First thing that comes to mind is that uranium is nearly useless for a dirty bomb.

This is given as two different events in the two articles but maybe it's just the same incident since the second article does not name the plant attacked. No nuclear material was taken, and the information taken doesn't seem to be useful in stealing uranium. What this data might be useful for is building more nuclear power plants.

Perhaps they watched Star Wars too much and think that if they study the plans closely enough they can find an exhaust port to fire a missile into and cause a reactor to explode in a spectacular fashion.

I realize that on some level this is serious business since people can take data from places like these and potentially do some harm. The harm they can do though is much more likely to be things like credit card fraud from the personal data stolen, or corporate espionage by stealing nuclear power plant designs. The chances for anyone to steal anything that can be used to cause harm to the power plant or to the public do seem limited.
Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.