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Technology can defend against power plant shutdowns.

The Cyber Security Dimension of Critical Energy Infrastructure

October 2012, Number 03.04

“March 11, 2011, was a bad day in the history of critical energy infrastructure. Many were shocked and deeply moved by the earthquake and tsunami that hit the coastline of Japan resulting in great destruction and loss of life. The magnitude-9.0 earthquake also produced a perfect storm of cascading events leading to a station blackout of the nuclear power facility at Fukushima. The facility’s backup power sources, consisting of the sites’ other reactors, diesel backup generators, switching and control systems, and switches to Japan’s national power grid, all failed after the last on-site batteries quickly drained. Nuclear plant operators had no lights on their control panels, giving them little capability to assess the situation (examine telemetry on the state of vital equipment) or to completely execute steps to protect the plant. Sensors and their links to automated safety systems failed to react to rising reactor temperatures. No power was available to operate emergency valves or coolant pumping systems...”

Excerpt from Vytautas Butrimas and Audrius Brūzga, “The Cyber Security Dimension of Critical Energy Infrastructure,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues  3, No. 4, 2012: 12-17.

Vytautas Butrimas is the chief advisor for cyber security at the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defense (MoND) and worked in information technology and security policy for more than 22 years. He has chaired task forces that included preparation of Lithuania‘s first Military Defence Strategy and the MoND's first National Defense System Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan. In 2012, Mr. Butrimas was appointed to the National Cybersecurity Coordination Commission chaired by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He also is a member of Lithuania’s National Communications Regulatory Authority’s Governing Board. He is a 1998 and 2000 graduate of the Marshall Center’s Senior Executive Seminar.

Audrius Brūzga is director of the Energy Security Center under the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From 2007 to 2010, he was ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to the United States and Mexico, a title he also held from 2002 to 2007 in Finland. He also served Lithuania as a diplomat in Israel and the United Kingdom. Ambassador Bruzga earned a degree in English language and literature from Vilnius University and continued his education with courses at Union College in the U.S. and Leeds University in the UK. He is a 1998 graduate of the Marshall Center’s Senior Executive Seminar.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.