The operator of South Korea’s 23 nuclear power plants said over the weekend that it had separated its internal computer network and plant control systems from the Internet and sealed USB ports in an effort to prevent hacking.

South Korean news agency Yonhap reported last week that the government announced North Korea “was behind the massive hacking attack that paralyzed the networks of local financial firms and broadcasters last month, though the North later denied its involvement.” The news agency said that North Korea “is known to operate a cyber warfare unit of 3,000 elite hackers who are trained to break into computer networks to steal information and distribute malware.”

South Korea’s reactors supply roughly one-third of the country’s power, and the nation has plans for its nuclear capacity of 20.7 GWe to double by 2030. South Korea won a $20 billion contract in 2009 to supply four nuclear reactors to the United Arab Emirates, and the first of these is under construction.

Sources: Yonhap, World Nuclear Association

Gail Reitenbach, PhD, Managing Editor (@POWERmagazine, @GailReit)

This story was originally published on April 15