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Virus & Safety Check For A Nuclear Power Plant in Singapore? October 8, 2010

Posted by Ian in Environment, Tech.
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Sometime earlier this year, I read an article about Singapore government’s plan to build a nuclear power plant in this island (see: Singapore to Consider Nuclear Power, Fewer Foreigners). It was a very uncomfortable read even though I am pro green energy. For a country about the size of Lake Taupo in New Zealand, an error on the power plant could either mean we run short on power or wiping out the entire country.

While surfing the news a moment ago, the danger became all too real with the in depth coverage about the emergence of a powerful new computer worm apparently is capable of causing power plants or pipelines to blow up. In recent weeks, dubbed the world’s “first cyber superweapon” by experts, it has wreaked havoc on computerised industrial equipment in Iran. Experts suspect it was designed to disable nuclear facilities in the country but Stuxnet could have consequences its creators did not anticipate. It is becoming clear that the repercussions may go far beyond Iran.

The Stuxnet story raises the question of what the consequences of using a cyber weapon might be. Maybe Pandora’s box has been opened — this weapon or one modeled after it, could soon come back in even more dangerous form. Security experts call this Blowback.

The virus targets control systems made by German industrial giant Siemens commonly used to manage water supplies, oil rigs, power plants and other industrial facilities.

Chinese media reported this week that Stuxnet had spread to China, infecting millions of computers around the country.

The source of the worm strike on Iran remains unknown, although suspicion has fallen on Israel and the United States, which fear that Tehran is using its nuclear programme to build an atomic bomb, a charge denied by Iran.

Singapore, being so close to the Equator with sunshine all year round, do we really need to have a nuclear power plant? There are more than enough places for solar panels on top and the sides of every building.



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