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Nuclear Power Plant In South Korea Hacked

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Since the ultimate goal of the ongoing hacking scare tactic appears to be the implementation of an Internet “Kill switch” which would likely be achieved by a controlled take down of the energy grid to demonstrate just how scary “hackers” may be, here comes the “other” Korea with an appetizer of what is to come to the US on short notice. According to RT, a South Korean nuclear plant operator’ computer system was hacked. The perpetrator has leaked blueprints and manuals, says if his demands for three reactors’ closure aren’t met, those living near the facilities should “stay away” from home.

The marketing stunt involving what would otherwise have been a straight to DVD flop, a pudgy North Korean dictator, an FBI desperate to create a fabricated YouTube clip of North Korean hackers scheming maliciously in their mother’s basement, an American president demanding retaliation because a 80286-equipped hacking army poses a threat to the American way of life and other surreal, B-grade movie elements may be about to end with the “shocking” re-release of The Interview on Christmas day, but that doesn’t mean that the push to implement an internet kill switch is over. Which really is what the relentless “hacking on the front pages” media scramble is all about.

And since the ultimate scare tactic appears likely to be a controlled take down of the energy grid to demonstrate just how scary “hackers” may be, here comes the “other” Korea with an appetizer of what is to come to the US on short notice. According to RT, a South Korean nuclear plant operator’ computer system was hacked and the perpetrator has leaked blueprints and manuals, says if his demands for three reactors’ closure aren’t met, those living near the facilities should “stay away” from home.

The Shin Kori No. 1 reactor (R) and No. 2 reactor of state-run utility
Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) are seen in Ulsan.

The hacker has been releasing the internal data of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power Co (KHNP) in stages, with the latest piece being posted online on Sunday. It came together with a warning of a major leak still ahead.

“I can open to the world 100,000 pages of data that have not yet been revealed,” the hacker said in the post, cited by Korea’s Yonhap news agency. “You say this isn’t confidential material. Let’s see if you will take responsibility if the information on blueprints, systems and programs are all disclosed to the countries that want them.”

Perhaps the hacker should have emerged in Japan some 4 years ago: had he released the blueprints of the Fukushima NPP then perhaps someone would have realized what a deathtrap that power plant is. As it stands, however, in a rubble of radioactive mess, it has by now irradiated a substantial portion of Japan, probably in perpetuity.

And while it would be logical to immediately blame North Korea once more in the aftermath of a South Korea hacking, and certainly would bolster the case that Obama should promptly invade the small nation in the name of US “national security”, it appears this time the culprit is someone else:

A Twitter user called “president of anti-nuclear reactor group in Hawaii” has claimed responsibility for the leaks.


He demands the shutdown of KHNP’s Gori-1, Gori-3 and Wolsong-3 nuclear reactors for three months starting Christmas, warning “residents near the reactors should stay away for the next few months” in case the demand is ignored.


Both the Korean government and the nuclear plants’ operator have assured no hacker can possibly damage nuclear plants.

So could it be a US-based hacker and will South Korea now proceed to take the US internet offline with the full blessing of the UN? Or would that be seen as a slightly disproportional response, and one which only the US is allowed to engage in when it feels like it?

Meanwhile, North Korea is scrambling to do damage control of its own:

“It is 100 percent impossible that a hacker can stop nuclear power plants by attacking them because the control monitoring system is totally independent and closed,” an official at KHNP told Reuters on Monday.  There’s a perception at the nuclear enterprise that the information could have been stolen before April 2013, when internal networks were isolated from all outside connection.

South Korea’s Deputy Energy Minister Lee Kwan-sup confirmed on Monday the leaked data was from Gori and Wolsong nuclear power plants, but said it was general information and claimed most of it could even be found “using Google’s search engine.”


Nevertheless he still believes the leak is a reason to be wary. “The government is handling this case with extreme care, but what we must bear in mind is that we do not know what the true intentions of these people are,” Lee said, according to Yonhap.

It was unclear as of this posting whether Sony would yank all of its nuclear safety clips only to re-release them at a more lucrative time.

Finally, as to question of who did it, we learn that, joking aside, North Korea may still be blamed: South Korea has not yet this time pointed a finger at Pyongyang. Seoul says the incident is being investigated.

Prosecutors have traced the IP used for a blog carrying the stolen documents to an online user in a southern city, Reuters reported. The person in question denies any involvement and claims his user ID has been stolen.

Surely the thief will be promptly identified as a North Korean individual at which point all bets are off.

In the meantime, the Korean Hydro & Nuclear Power company has launched a two-day exercise on Monday to prepare staff to a possible cyber-attack.


11 Comments on "Nuclear Power Plant In South Korea Hacked"

  1. Kenz300 on Tue, 23rd Dec 2014 3:48 pm 

    Nuclear energy is too costly and too dangerous……

    We need to learn from the previous disasters just how costly nuclear energy is.

    It is time to transition to safer, cleaner and less environmentally dangerous forms of alternative energy.

    The disasters at Fukishima and Chernobyl continue today with no end in sight. The cost for those cleanup and storage of nuclear waste will go on forever. Who can afford that !

    Natural disasters, hackers, terrorists…. a disaster at a nuclear plant does so much more damage to the environment and communities than a disaster at a wind farm or solar energy plant.

    Had Chernobyl or Fukishima been a solar plant or wind farm both sites would be cleaned up and the people would be back in their communities.

  2. yellowcanoe on Tue, 23rd Dec 2014 8:33 pm 

    Nuclear power is working well here in Ontario. Last year our nuclear plants produced 59% of our electrical power. Now that the last coal fired generators have been decommissioned, the only source of electricity cheaper than nuclear are large hydroelectric facilities. All the new renewable generators including wind, solar, hydro and biomass have feed in tariffs that are substantially higher in cost than nuclear. The Wolsong-3 nuclear reactor referenced in this article is a Canadian designed CANDU heavy water reactor of similar design to the reactors we operate in Ontario.

  3. Speculawyer on Tue, 23rd Dec 2014 10:03 pm 

    I’m for building some more nukes. Build them in seismically stable places. Build them with the latest technology. Heavily regulate them. But we need the dispatchable emission-free power.

    But we should be building FAR MORE solar PV installations, wind turbines, geothermal, hydropower, biomass plants, etc.

  4. Makati1 on Wed, 24th Dec 2014 4:50 am 

    Specu, where do you want to store that “clean: nuclear waste? Would you like a few hundred spent fuel rods for your pool or basement? After all, there is somewhere north of 300,000 TONS of them laying around the world waiting to destroy what is left of the ecosystem. I personally think every stockholder and employee of a nuclear plant should have one for their personal care. Maybe a few hundred for the CEO of each nuclear company? I bet they would find a safe way to store them in a hurry if they were in their homes.

  5. Kenz300 on Wed, 24th Dec 2014 10:03 am 

    Ask TEPCO and FUKISHIMA or Chernobyl how costly nuclear energy is. How much will it cost to store all the nuclear waste around the world FOREVER? What would happen at Fukishima or Chernobyl if the government and tax payers did not help fund the clean up and storage …….

    There are safer, cleaner and cheaper ways to produce electricity……..


    Solar and Wind Provide 70 Percent of New US Generating Capacity in November 2014

  6. Mike999 on Wed, 24th Dec 2014 1:20 pm 

    Canada has Good wind resources, and could go wind as soon and as hard as possible.

  7. TemplarMyst on Wed, 24th Dec 2014 9:56 pm 


    I have quite a few spent fuel rods, stored up at the Zion NPP about half an hour or forty-five minutes from where I live.

    They don’t bother me in the least. They’re all way beyond the hot stage and are living quietly in casks onsite.

    If, no, I’ll say when, we actually start taxing carbon and looking at the land areas required for wind and solar, those casks will be opened and their fuel placed into either a liquid fluoride thorium, or integral fast uranium, small modular reactor, and processed as what they are – fuel. They’re not waste at all.

    I was at a neighborhood party this evening and the discussion of renewables came up. It was incredibly refreshing to have the college kid in the pack agree with me on the viability and desirability of using nuclear.

    She gets it. When she is looking for fuel she’ll be able to get it from the very casks we’re storing not far from our current location.

    And when she’s looking for a way to reduce the number of nuclear warheads in the world she’ll look to those stockpiles as yet another source – of fuel.

    Tonight, life was good for this old man. 🙂

  8. Kenz300 on Thu, 25th Dec 2014 9:45 am 

    Nuclear power plants are just too costly and too dangerous……

    They are vulnerable targets for terrorists……..

    They multiply the dangers from natural events like storms, hurricanes, tsunami’s, floods and earth quakes………

    TEPCO has a 40 year plan to clean up the mess at Fukishima and admit in the plan that the technology to do ALL the clean up does not even exist.

    I would like to see all those who love Nuclear power so much go and volunteer to help with the clean up at Fukishima.

    They did not even try to clean up the mess at Chernobyl……. they just covered it up……. now they are spending another billion dollars to put a cover over the existing cover……… and the dangers continue decades later……..

  9. Nony on Thu, 25th Dec 2014 9:51 am 

    They look cool. I like them.

  10. TemplarMyst on Thu, 25th Dec 2014 1:09 pm 


    Most NPPs have extended decommission times, where the cost and process are included in the fees charged and the approvals obtained. NPPs by law have to be returned to a green field state. It is largely the debate over the health risks of low level radiation which add so much to the cost and times. Fukushima’s cleanup will be more expensive for that reason as well.

    Based on what one can actually see at Chernobyl today (ref. Radioactive Wolves on PBS), there is evidence a very large part of the ecosystem has recovered from the accident and is thriving. Certain species have been affected more than others, but the overall assessment is nature has returned with a vengeance.

    To a limited degree so have the people. Many villagers just crept back into their old homes not long after the accident, and are there today. Some young people have returned as well.

    Of all the forms of power we have, this one is the least risky and will have the least impact. But until a price is placed on carbon it won’t be able to compete with natural gas.

    We’ll have to feel the force of climate change more directly before we’ll do anything about it, I fear. When we do, some renewables will make sense, but grid power will best be served by 4th generation nuclear.

  11. Kenz300 on Sat, 27th Dec 2014 10:19 am 

    Nuclear energy is a dying industry………

    It just costs too much and can not compete on price……….

    We are now nearing the time when the life span of older nuclear plants is coming to an end. The true costs of nuclear energy will be known when we try to dismantle and clean up the nuclear mess and store the waste FOREVER.

    How much does it cost to store nuclear waste FOREVER?

    Who will pay for it?

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