1. Hackers Hit US Nuke Plants
On July 6 the New York Times published, "Hackers Are Targeting Nuclear Facilities, Homeland Security and FBI Say."
"Since May hackers had been penetrating computer networks of companies that operated nuclear power stations of companies that operate nuclear power stations and other energy facilities, as well as manufacturing plants in the US and other countries," the Times reported.
The Times got access to the feds' report , which said the hacking activity has intensified over the past several months.
The Wolf Creek nuclear plant in Kansas was was named in the feds's report as one of a dozen nuke plants hit by the cyberattacks. That report also "carried an amber warning, second highest rating for sensitivity of the threat," according to the Times.
"The hackers appeared determined to map out computer networks for future attacks, the report concluded," the newspaper added.
"Most of the cyberattacks were aimed at control engineers "who have direct access to systems, that, if damaged, could lead to an explosion, fire ,or spill of dangerous material," the Times reported.
In addition, the Times said the feds' report indicated "an advanced persistent threat actor responsible" for the cyberattacks, in other words, hackers backed by another government.
All proper authorities claim that the hackers caused no harm to the public and did not actually penetrate the reactors of the affected nuclear plants. But even if this is true, there seems to be no guarantee that this could never happen, as the cyberattacks that did occur were not believed possible by experts in cybersecurity.
On July 7 NBC News reported that the hacks "raised red flags for the energy industry."
Sources: New York Times. nytimes.com; NBC News, nbcnews.com
2. Seventeen Nuclear Reactors To Close in France
France, often touted as an example of trouble free nuclear plants in the past, announced it will be permanently closing 17 nuclear reactors in the future, continuing a policy change to lessen dependence on nuclear power that began after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.
Beyond Nuclear, a US no nukes group, reported on July 12 that the French Environment Minister, Nicloas Hulot, became the first such official to put a number to the planned shutdowns. Hulot himself was an environmental activist before taking office recently.
The French state government, usually closely entwined with nuclear industry, has been distancing itself somewhat after a series of scandals involving threats of bankruptcy and reports of flawed French made major components in nuclear reactors in that nation, as well as in the US and elsewhere.
Yves Marignac, director of WISE-Paris, declared, "The French nuclear star is waning." Marignac continued, "The overall positive way the statement has been received by the mainstream media shows the readiness of the economic and political spheres to support such a change. This could lead to the next critical step of identifying the reactors to be shut down and creating a real timeline and deadline for this to happen. It's a huge opportunity to accelerate the energy transition and those who support it should get firmly behind the initiative to push it through to fruition."
WISE-Paris is the World Service on Energy, which began in 1983 because of a perceived lack of information in the nuclear field, according to Wikipedia.
Sources: Beyond Nuclear, beyond nuclear.org; wikipwedia, wikipedia.org