Cyber security enhancements for nuclear safety applications

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Over the course of March and April 2021, the NEA organised a series of webinars with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) and the Korean Nuclear Society (KNS) to explore the use of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing in nuclear applications and discuss the prospects for improvements in nuclear safety. 

The first event in the series focused on the NEA Nuclear Innovation 2050 Initiative (NI2050) and the initiative’s key outcomes related to nuclear safety, while the second event provided an overview of emerging digital technologies and key factors affecting their adoption in the nuclear sector. The third webinar explored the potential benefits that data-driven technologies could bring into the nuclear sector, including enhanced improvements in efficiency and safety.

The fourth and final event in this series on disruptive technologies took place on 27 April 2021 and focused on cyber security enhancements for nuclear safety applications. The panellists discussed cyber security risks associated with the use of data-sharing technologies and increased connectivity in the nuclear sector. They provided examples and viewpoints on safety standards that are being developed in order to address these risks, such as threat detection modules, vulnerability analyses and cybersecurity trainings and exercises.

“We hope to see that the nuclear sector takes advantage of new and innovative technologies. They have the potential to make nuclear facilities more efficient, safer, and more cost-effective," noted NEA Director-General William D. Magwood, IV. “But at the same time, they pose very interesting questions. The nuclear sector is not like other sectors; we regulate in a very different way for very good reasons.”

Diane Cameron, Head of the NEA Division of Nuclear Technology Development and Economics, added: “An incident at any nuclear facility in the world is an incident for every nuclear facility in the world from the perspective of public confidence. That’s a dynamic that’s fairly unique to the nuclear sector.  Regulators have an important role to play to ensure readiness so that the introduction of digital innovation does not further exacerbate this dynamic.”

In this respect, the panellists also addressed the regulatory viewpoints on cyber security and challenges such as cyber threats to nuclear digital systems. The discussion highlighted the role of collaboration among regulators, licensees and research/academia communities for the successful application of advanced technologies and for ensuring high levels of safety and security while taking advantage of new and innovative data-driven technologies.

The webinar series will culminate with a high-level conference to be hosted by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) in Korea at the end of 2021 or in early 2022. Detailed information will be available on the NEA website in the coming months.


  • Chul Hwan Jung, Technical Specialist, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC)
  • Jeong Ho Lee, Director of the Division of Cyber Security, Korea Institute of Nuclear Nonproliferation and Control (KINAC)
  • Jun Young Son, Senior Engineer, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI)
  • Christopher Spirito, Nuclear Cyber Security Consultant, Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
  • Hyunjin Yoon, Senior Researcher, Korea Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI)
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