Oyster Creek License Amendment Changes Date For Cyber Security Plans

A view of the reactor and associated buildings from inside plant property. (Photo by Chris Lundy)

FORKED RIVER – The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved a request from the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station to change the date of completion for their Cyber Security Plan (CSP). The Oyster Creek plant requested to change the date of completion for Milestone 8 of its CSP from Dec. 31, 2017 to Aug. 31, 2021.

Milestone 8 is the final step that Oyster Creek must take to fully complete the eight step, two-phase cyber security program. The components of the CSP were set forth by the CSP implementation schedule and the physical protection license commission, according to a letter from the NRC to Bryan Hanson, President and Chief Nuclear Officer.

Cyber security regulations were established back in 2009 to “ensure that the functions of digital computers, communication systems and networks associated with safety, security and emergency preparedness at the plants are protected from cyberattacks,” said Neil Sheehan, NRC Public Affairs Officer.

The two phases of this cyber security program are meant to implement controls to protect Oyster Creek’s digital assets as well as make changes to cybersecurity controls, awareness training for employees, incident response training, and supply chain protection, said Sheehan. The regulations make sure that the plant remains safe from cyber-attack.

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Oyster Creek’s application to move the date to Aug. 31 was approved by the NRC, after having already achieved the first seven milestones. Many of the required upgrades are already in place, said Sheehan.

“This completed work ensures that most risk-significant and security critical digital assets, or CDAs, remain secure,” said Sheehan.

This fact contributed to the NRC’s approval of the date change alongside the fact that Oyster Creek has already begun Milestone 8 procedures as well.

Oyster Creek had already previously changed the date of completion once before. The NRC reviewed the CSP implementation schedule back in August of 2011, which outlined that the CSP be completed by Dec. 31, 2015. Another license amendment, similar to this new one, was granted back in July of 2015 that changed the date to Dec. 31, 2017, according to the Safety Evaluation report by the NRC for this most recent amendment.

Oyster Creek is scheduled to shut down permanently come Dec. 31, 2019.