Important Articles

Information security stepped up at KKNPP after cyber-attack {Security}

Context
There was a cyberattack on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) in Tamil Nadu, India, in September. The nuclear power plant’s administrative network was breached in the attack but did not cause any critical damage.
Why in news?
A comprehensive safety audit was conducted on the administrative network of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) following a recent cyber-attack, and appropriate safety measures have been put in place to thwart similar attacks in the future.
The nuclear power plant and the cyberattack

  • The KKNPP is the biggest nuclear power plant in India, equipped with two Russian-designed and supplied VVER pressurized water reactors with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts each.
  • Both reactor units feed India’s southern power grid.
  • The plant is adding four more reactor units of the same capacity, making the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant one of the largest collaborations between India and Russia.
Impact of cyber attack
  • Cyberattacks on nuclear power plants could have physical effects, especially if the network that runs the machines and software controlling the nuclear reactor are compromised.
  • This can be used to facilitate sabotage, theft of nuclear materials, or — in the worst-case scenario — a reactor meltdown.
  • In a densely populated country like India, any radiation release from a nuclear facility would be a major disaster.
Isolating the computer network
  • KKNPP could not be accessed by any outside network from any part of the globe. Hence there was no question of it being hacked.
  • The critical internal network” was isolated from the administrative one, and by implication, the Internet.
  • This physical isolation of a computer or a local network from the Internet to prevent any outside breach is called an “air gap.
List of Nuclear Power Plants in India
1. Tarapur
Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)
Location: Maharashtra
Type: Boiling water reactor (BWR) & Pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR)
Total capacity (MW): 1,400
2. Rawatbhata
Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)
Location: Rajasthan
Type: Pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR)
Total capacity (MW): 1,180
3. Kudankulam
Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)
Location: Tamil Nadu
Type: Water-Water Energetic Reactor (VVER)-1000
Total capacity (MW): 2,000
4. Kaiga
Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)
Location: Karnataka
Type: Pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR)
Total capacity (MW): 880
5. Kakrapar
Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)
Location: Gujarat
Type: Pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR)
Total capacity (MW): 440
6. Kalpakkam
Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)
Location: Tamil Nadu
Type: Pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR)
Total capacity (MW): 440
7. Narora
Operator: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL)
Location: Uttar Pradesh
Type: Pressurized heavy water reactor (PHWR)
Total capacity (MW): 440 


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