Tuesday, April 19, 2011

British Nuclear Power Plant Goes Dark. Stuxnet Worm To Blame?

British Energy, owned by France’s EDF Energy PLC, has reported an “unplanned outage” at its Heysham 1 nuclear power plant yesterday. A company spokesperson told the Associated Press that repairs to one of the reactors are ongoing but didn’t say when the plant was expected to resume operations.

According to Siemens’ website, EDF Energy is a customer of the German technology giant, whose infrastructure software has suffered from a global infection of the sophisticated Stuxnet worm. A 2007 briefing deck by the Technical Working Group on Nuclear Power Plant Control and Instrumentation disclosed that Heysham 2 had its Reypac controllers replaced with Siemens S7. Today’s outage occurred at Heysham 1 and so far I cannot determine if Heysham 1 had the same upgrades as Heysham 2. EDF Energy hasn’t disclosed any further information about the outage at the time of this writing.

By some bizarre quirk of fate, this occurred on the same day that EDF completed the sale of its UK power distribution business (7.8 million customers in London, East, and Southeast England) to the Cheung Kong Group of Hong Kong for EUR$3.2 Billion.'


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