By Park Jun-young WIRED Korea
Protecting a hydroelectric power plant from cyber-attacks is critical for unhindered power supply to homes and factories. Even more critical is keeping nuclear power plants from such attacks, which could lead to radioactive contamination as well as a disruption in power supply.
Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., which is responsible for about 30 percent of the country’s electricity supply, and SK Telecom, a leading mobile network carrier in Korea, have been collaborating to keep Korean hydroelectric and nuclear power plants safe from snooping hackers.
One such example is the use of quantum cryptography technologies in communications on the 5G network between the headquarters of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, and a pump-storage hydroelectric power station in Milyang, South Gyeongsang Province.
It was the first commercial application of quantum cryptography in 5G communications in Korea. SK Telecom says the use of encryption technologies developed by ID Quantique, a Geneva-based provider of quantum key distribution (QKD) systems, will ensure that there will be no hacking into communications between the electric power company and its power plant.
Before starting quantum cryptography-based communications in Korea on June 23, SK Telecom and ID Quantique announced in April that their report on QDK obtained approval from ITU-T, the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector, which coordinates standards for telecommunications and information-communication technology.
Beginning this year, the utility and the mobile network carrier are planning to expand the use of quantum cryptography technologies to other power plants to make them safe and smart. To be used for the project of making power plants smart, SK Telecom says, are 5G, quantum cryptography, artificial intelligence and cloud technologies.
When the application of these advanced technologies is completed, SK Telecom says, the smart power plants will be able to generate power more efficiently, ensure greater security and make on- and off-line management more effective.
For starters, SK Telecom says it will use the technologies it holds in its possession -- 5G, encryption and information-communication technologies -- to build a private 5G network at a hydroelectric power plant.
The mobile carrier is also planning to expand a public safety LTE service for a nuclear power plant, a service which allows emergency workers direct access to a reserved LTE network. The project is an extension of a pilot project launched last year to provide a public safety LTE service for Unit 6 of the Hanbit Nuclear Power Plant in the southwestern region of South Korea.
In addition, it is planning to develop a QKD-based transmission technology and the technology of using the quantum number generator for mobile access to power plants, the technology for effective autonomous system control and other technologies required for smart power plants.
Park Sang-hyung, a manager of digital innovation at Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co., says the company plans to achieve its goal of digital transformation, building smart power plants with the use of advanced wireless technology. The company, he says, will complete its smart plant project with the use of information-communication technology from the industry leader, SK Telecom.
Shin Yong-sik, a senior manager who heads SK Telecom’s internet of things business, says his company is ready to build smart power plants with 5G, quantum cryptography and other information-communication technologies.
“We will continue to work with Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co. to help renovate its power-generating facilities,” he says. ”Our collaboration will help keep our industry and civilian life stable.”
Park Jun-young’s Korean-language article is found at "SKT-한수원, 5G·양자암호 기반 스마트 플랜트 조성".
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