IAEA flags cyber threat concerns for nuclear facilities: Govt

IAEA flags cyber threat concerns for nuclear facilitiesGovtNew Delhi: Global nuclear watchdog IAEA has expressed concern over possible cyber and terrorist threats to nuclear installations worldwide, with the government today saying it was prepared to deal with any such eventuality.

Noting that no cyber intrusion has happened so far with respect to nuclear installations, Union Minister Jitendra Singh told the Lok Sabha that nuclear installations in the country are “designed and operated following a defense in- depth philosophy”.

To a query on whether IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the US-based non-profit group Nuclear Threat Initiative (NIT) have alerted the world community of a possible threat of cyber and terrorist attack on nuclear facilities, the Minister replied in the affirmative.

During the Question Hour, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office said IAEA has expressed concern in general terms about the possibility of cyber and terrorist threats to nuclear installations globally, without indicating any specific details.

“Government takes these concerns seriously and remains alert and is prepared to deal with such threats,” he said.

Further, the Minister said the critical infrastructure of Indian nuclear establishment is isolated from the internet and access to such systems was restricted to authorized personnel and closely monitored.

There are also Computer and Information Security Advisory Group (CISAG) and the Task Force for Instrumentation and Control Security (TAFICS) to look after “cyber/information security of the Department of Atomic Energy units including regular cyber security audit”, he added.

Responding to questions related to monazite reserves in the country, Singh said in the garb of granite mining, there have been instances of monazite being mined. The government has taken “due cognizance” of the instances, he added.

There is around 12 million tonnes of monazite reserves and about ten per cent of thorium can be extracted from it while “continuous efforts” are going on for exploration, he said.–PTI

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