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Southern Nuclear Plant Vogtle recognized for advancements in cybersecurity

From left: Mike Thow (EPRI), Eugene Pisarskiy (Southern Nuclear), Bradley Yeates (Southern Nuclear) and Matt Gibson (EPRI).

Southern Nuclear has been recognized as the first company in the world to utilize an Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) approach for cybersecurity assessment and mitigation that will help protect over 16,000 digital Plant Vogtle 3 & 4 components from cyber attacks.

For their work on this project, Southern Nuclear personnel Brad Yeates and Eugene Pisarskiy received an ERPI Technology Transfer Award for their team’s implementation of the EPRI cybersecurity technical assessment methodology.

Specifically, the two Plant Vogtle managers and their team improved on the company’s ability – and in the long term, the industry’s ability – to safeguard plant control systems from a cyber attack through a more targeted and robust cybersecurity program. The team’s accomplishment highlights Southern Nuclear personnel’s relentless focus on enhancing already-robust safety programs and practices throughout all Southern Nuclear-operated facilities.

“Our approach to protect against cyber attacks, and if necessary, to respond and recover from attacks, is critical to ensure safe and reliable generation of electricity at Plant Vogtle,” said Yeates, the cybersecurity manager. “We also are carving out a path for others to follow.”

Vogtle 3 & 4 adopted and revised EPRI’s technical assessment methodology during implementation. “This methodology employs a disciplined and repeatable engineering approach that takes into account different levels of risk to meet our business objectives and to satisfy cybersecurity regulations,” said Pisarskiy, digital instrumentation and controls manager.

As described by EPRI’s Senior Technical Leader Jeremy Lawrence, “power plant operators are raising the bar on cybersecurity to implement more sophisticated measures above and beyond the regulatory requirements.”

“These remarkable efforts at Plant Vogtle demonstrate the innovation and determination of this team to build advanced processes that are both efficient and effective in combating a global cybersecurity threat to our nation’s infrastructure,” said Tom Wilson, chief information security officer for Southern Company.

Yeates expects to finalize the cybersecurity program and complete the technical assessments in 2020 prior to the company receiving the first shipment of nuclear fuel for Vogtle Unit 3.

EPRI annually recognizes nuclear industry professionals who have successfully implemented technical research developed and published by EPRI, to achieve innovative advancements that significantly benefit their company and the industry at large.


About EPRI

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) conducts research, development and demonstration projects for the benefit of the public in the United States and internationally. As an independent, nonprofit organization for public interest energy and environmental research, EPRI focuses on electricity generation, delivery and use in collaboration with the electricity sector, its stakeholders and others to enhance the quality of life by making electric power safe, reliable, affordable and environmentally responsible.

The worldwide membership that supports EPRI’s work comprises more than 1,000 organizations. While most members are electric utilities, others are businesses, government agencies, regulators and public or private entities engaged in some aspect of the generation, delivery or use of electricity.