The Kudankulam nuclear plant is back in the news today. Amidst reports of a cyber-attack, the plant denied rumours. A statement by the Training Superintendent and Information Officer R Ramdoss said that some false information is being propagated on social media platforms, electronic and print media.
Foreign funded NGOs and those with a Leftist leaning have always tried to sabotage the clean energy that India has been producing. In June 2014, the Intelligence Bureau had spoken about the presence of thousands of NGOs that were operating within India, in a bid to hamper both social and economic development.
It was in that report the IB had spoken about the interference by NGOs in the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu. In its report to the Union Home Ministry, the IB had spoken about a foreign funded NGO that was orchestrating the protest by the villagers. The first time this was pointed out was when the UPA was in power. The UPA just made a statement and did not take any further action, but after the Narendra Modi government took over, the crack down on the NGOs began.
The Kudankulam nuclear plant is back in the news today. Amidst reports of a cyber-attack, the plant denied rumours. A statement by the Training Superintendent and Information Officer R Ramdoss said that some false information is being propagated on social media platforms, electronic and print media with reference to a cyber-attack on the Kudankulam nuclear plant. This is to clarify Kudankulam nuclear plant and other Indian Nuclear Power Plants Control Systems are stand alone and not connected to outside cyber network and internet. Any cyber-attack on the Nuclear Power Plant Control System is not possible. Presently KKNPP Unit-1&2 are operating at 1000 MWe and 600 MWe respectively without any operational or safety concerns.
The origin of the information:
Pukraj Singh, who was part of the team that set up the National Technical Research Organisation said on Twitter, “so it is public now. Domain controller level access at the Kudankulam nuclear plant. The government was notified way back. Extremely mission-critical targets were hit.”
After an official denial was issued, Singh tweeted, “seeing the KKNNP’s press release, I would like to add that I notified Lt. Gen Rajesh Pant (National Cyber Security Coordinator) on September 4. Follow up emails were exchanged, acknowledging the issue. I would solicit no further enquires on the matter, requesting privacy.”
On October 28, a link to a report on VirusTotal.Com was posted on Twitter. It said that a form of malware known as DTRACK had been found in the assessment by VirusTotal. Kaspersky, a cyber security firm had in September said that they had discovered DTRACK in Indian Financial Institutions and Research Centres. This form of spyware was created by the Lazarus group and is being used to upload and download files to the systems of victims, record keystrokes and conduct other actions typical of a malicious remote administration, Kaspersky also said.
Can the plant come under a cyber-attack?
The official release by the KKNNP said that the systems are not connected outside cyber network and internet and hence any cyber-attack on the plant is not possible. Owing to the huge security risk, the control systems of nuclear power plants are run on air-gapped networks.
This would mean that the internal networks are not connected to the outside networks and the internet. While this makes it not possible to attack, an attack is however possible, if the systems are infected by malware from inside the plant.
Due to these reports there have been questions on why the plant had been shuttered last Saturday. Officials say that this was due to the reduced water flow into the steam generator, which was due to a mechanical issue. The official said that it was restored in two days.
Moments after the news broke out, district officials at Tirunelveli checked with the plant and were told that the reports were false.
The larger concern for India’s Nuclear Plants:
Strictly speaking, all nuclear plants in India are unsafe. India needs clean and cheap energy and there are lobbies which will try and beat down such attempts. Their biggest worry is that India will enrich the uranium.
Saudi Arabia today is warming up to us because we are keen on moving towards electric vehicles. They want a foot in our oil requirements.
There are several lobbies and foreign funded NGOs who do not want us to be self-sufficient. When the scenario is such there are bound to be attempts to either try and sabotage operations or stage protests so that these plants do not function. India should not relent and must understand that we cannot build our nation without power and energy.
Now coming to Kudankulam, there have always been problems. The lobby pushed very hard to ensure that the plant did not become functional. There is always a threat to such installations says, former Research and Wing Officer, Amar Bhushan.
He tells MyNation that all the energy plants are very heavily guarded. They are not just secured by guards, but also by intelligence agencies. This is because the threat is always there, he says.
In the current case, I would like to say that it would be difficult to attack the plant. However, the leftist set up will always try and agitate and try and hamper operations, Bhushan further adds. They would always try and rake up environment and safety issues and this is what we must be careful about as the sabotage attempt would always be there, Bhushan also points out.
In this context one must also take a look at the construction of the Nuclear Power Plant in Haryana. The 700megawatt nuclear plant being constructed at the Fatehbad district of Haryana is being delayed reportedly due to the meddling by some foreign funded NGOs.
A report in the Sunday Guardian said that the project is behind schedule.
The NGOs are stoking fear among the locals that their only source of water in the area will be used up by the plant. The issues and concerns that were raised have already been addressed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India. The report while quoting officials said that similar protests had been witnessed by vested interests to sabotage the Kudankulam nuclear plant.
To fund these NGOs and stage protests, the amount of money that had been pumped in was obscene. The 2014 IB report mentioned above had said that the US would pump in Rs 3,838 crore annually. UK on the other hand pumped in Rs 1,219 crore, followed by Germany at Rs 1,096 crore. Italy and Netherlands would pump in Rs 528 crore and Rs 418.3 crore annually. The report also said that while there were 85,000 NGOs, the activities of 30% of these organisations were found to be suspect.
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Last Updated Oct 30, 2019, 3:02 PM IST