Posts Tagged ‘power plants’
A computer virus attacked a turbine control system at a U.S. power company last fall when a technician unknowingly inserted an infected USB computer drive into the network, keeping a plant off line for three weeks, according to a report posted on a U.S. government website.
The Department of Homeland Security report did not identify the plant but said criminal software, which is used to conduct financial crimes such as identity theft, was behind the incident.
It was introduced by an employee of a third-party contractor that does business with the utility…
In addition to not identifying the plants, a DHS spokesman declined to say where they are located.
Justin W. Clarke, a security researcher…noted that experts believe Stuxnet was delivered to its target in Iran via a USB drive. Attackers use that technique to place malicious software on computer systems that are “air gapped,” or cut off from the public Internet.
“This is yet another stark reminder that even if a true ‘air gap’ is in place on a control network, there are still ways that malicious targeted or unintentional random infection can occur,” he said.
Yes, you can rely on human beings to do something dumb!
Many critical infrastructure control systems run on Windows XP and Windows 2000, operating systems that were designed more than a decade ago. They have “auto run” features enabled by default, which makes them an easy target for infection because malicious software loads as soon as a USB is plugged into the system unless operators change that setting, Clarke said…
A DHS spokesman could not immediately be reached to comment on the report.
The largest single category of so-called hacking attacks – which had nothing to do with hacking, of course – was spearphishing emails sent to specific employees of public utilities. The emails including a suggestion to “click here” for more information. They did.
Geothermal power plant in Iceland
Indonesia is hosting what is being called the world’s biggest Geothermal energy conference.
The congress in Bali is an attempt to look at how to better develop geothermal power as an environmentally friendly fuel for the future…
It is often dubbed volcano power but the correct scientific explanation for geothermal energy is power extracted from the heat stored in the Earth’s core.
Indonesia has ambitious plans to tap geothermal power…The archipelago of more than 17,000 islands sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” – one of the most active regions in the world for volcanic activity…
Scientists say that in theory the planet’s geothermal power is enough to supply mankind’s energy needs and could certainly help to solve Indonesia’s fuel problems.
But the issue is cost. While environmentally friendly, the harnessing of geothermal power is also a very expensive endeavour.
Reports from the conference just might provide some info, some hope, some idea of folks realizing that a little extra time and money means a great deal to the future of energy production.
Or we can continue with the same short-sighted analysis of commerce and production that gets the world – repeatedly – into disaster-laden corners.
Masontown, PA — For years, residents here complained about the yellow smoke pouring from the tall chimneys of the nearby coal-fired power plant, which left a film on their cars and pebbles of coal waste in their yards. Five states — including New York and New Jersey — sued the plant’s owner, Allegheny Energy, claiming the air pollution was causing respiratory diseases and acid rain.
So three years ago, when Allegheny Energy decided to install scrubbers to clean the plant’s air emissions, environmentalists were overjoyed. The technology would spray water and chemicals through the plant’s chimneys, trapping more than 150,000 tons of pollutants each year before they escaped into the sky.
But the cleaner air has come at a cost. Each day since the equipment was switched on in June, the company has dumped tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater containing chemicals from the scrubbing process into the Monongahela River, which provides drinking water to 350,000 people and flows into Pittsburgh, 40 miles to the north…
Even as a growing number of coal-burning power plants around the nation have moved to reduce their air emissions, many of them are creating another problem: water pollution. Power plants are the nation’s biggest producer of toxic waste, surpassing industries like plastic and paint manufacturing and chemical plants, according to a New York Times analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data…
Yet no federal regulations specifically govern the disposal of power plant discharges into waterways or landfills. Some regulators have used laws like the Clean Water Act to combat such pollution. But those laws can prove inadequate, say regulators, because they do not mandate limits on the most dangerous chemicals in power plant waste, like arsenic and lead…
Even when power plant emissions are regulated by the Clean Water Act, plants have often violated that law without paying fines or facing other penalties. Ninety percent of 313 coal-fired power plants that have violated the Clean Water Act since 2004 were not fined or otherwise sanctioned by federal or state regulators, according to a Times analysis of Environmental Protection Agency records.
RTFA. It goes on and on – pretty much as you would expect.
It remains cheaper to buy state officials than a congress-critter; so, the ever-popular federalist defense utilizes states rights to fend off the rare attempts to use federal regulations to stop pollution creep.
Russia, already a large supplier of nuclear-reactor fuel to Europe and Asia, is expected today to sign its first purely commercial contract to supply low-enriched uranium to United States utilities.
With the signing, Russia’s nuclear-fuel trade with the United States will shift to a commercial footing, similar to Russia’s dealings with other consumers of fuel, like France and the Netherlands, both longtime buyers of Russian uranium.
For the United States, the change is a sign that Washington is acquiescing to the idea of a major Russian role not only in the international nuclear power market, but also in the domestic market. Russia’s outsize role in supplying uranium to American utilities had previously been justified because the fuel was a byproduct of a program to eliminate nuclear weapons. Now the Russians will be selling nuclear fuel from virgin uranium…
The policy of buying diluted, or blended-down, Russian weapons-grade uranium yielded a clear nonproliferation benefit. The new mode — of having the Russians enrich new uranium for United States markets — is not directly beneficial for nuclear security because it does not remove weapons-grade uranium from stockpiles. Yet by encouraging the commercial availability of Russian enrichment services, the United States deprives other countries of the rationale to have enrichment programs of their own.
It also diminishes the liklehood of our wonderful domestic suppliers getting back into the business. We don’t exactly miss the sleazy thugs who inflicted a couple generations of distorted and mutated genes on the poor buggers who worked their mines.