Cyberattacks and highly enriched uranium smuggling are among top concerns for Yukiya Amano, Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who cited two instances during a visit to Germany.
While the cyberattack on the power plant allegedly caused “some disruption,” Amano said there was no reason to halt its operation. However, “some precautionary measures” were taken to prevent such incidents from happening again.
“This is not an imaginary risk,” said Amano. “This issue of cyber attacks on nuclear-related facilities or activities should be taken very seriously. We never know if we know everything or if it’s the tip of the iceberg.”
Referring to the incident as “disruptive”, it’s unclear as to how much damage the cyberattack inflicted and whether or not critical or sensitive information was affected.
Describing a second incident in which a man tried to smuggle highly enriched uranium, the IAEA director said it could potentially have been used as part of a “dirty bomb”. While details on this second incident also remain scarce, this is not the first incident in which nuclear facilities have been “scouted” for both cyberattacks and bombings.
The first reported incident where nuclear power plants were allegedly targeted by suicide bombers dates back to March 22, when two men killed 32 people in Brussels. Investigations revealed they were allegedly also looking into attacking a nuclear facility.
While IAEA has provided trainings and instruments to more than 10,000 police officers and border guards for detecting nuclear materials the IAEA director emphasized that cybersecurity will be an important topic at the Vienna nuclear summit in December.