Critical infrastructure security is the protection of National Infrastructure facilities or
assets that provide essential services or utilities for a society and economy to operate. Critical infrastructure can found across the country in a variety of sector including;
- emergency services
- public Transportation
- Nuclear power plants
- Oil and Gas
- Extraction sites
- Transport pipelines
- Storage and distribution facilities
This post has focused on critical infrastructure security the energy and water sector including nuclear power plants.
critical infrastructure security of vital public assets
Nuclear safety hazards
The health and safety risk at a nuclear production facility is similar to other critical infrastructures except for a major area. The radiation exposure is the greatest health risk to the worker on the site.
- Radioactive materials
- Naturally occurring metals from the earth
- Used to fuel Nuclear reactors
- Used in medical equipment
- Can be found in small amounts in common Items including
- Smoke detectors
- Brazil nuts
- Ionizing radiation
- Energy transmitted with enough energy to change physical matter
- Can come in safe levels such as
- Rays of the sun
- Medical x-ray
- Natural levels in the earth soil
- Exposure to radiation is called a „Dose‟
- The dose is measured in „Millirems‟
- Most humans receive a dose of 280 millirems per year from natural sources
There are also safety measures to protect the health of the worker by reducing the number of radiation exposure to the workers.
- Create a barrier – Steel, concrete and water provide protection from radiation. The Nuclear reactor inside an energy plant will have several layers of thick walls made of steel and concrete.
- Minimize time – The less time a person spends near a radiation source, the smaller the dose they will receive.
- Increase distance – The further away from a person is from a radiation source, the smaller doses they will receive.
Security staff may be exposed to low levels of radiation while on duty and will be required to wear a badge called a dosimeter that measures how much radiation dose they are exposed to.
Nuclear security threats;
The biggest threat to nuclear security is the illegal smuggling of radioactive materials. These can be used to build weapons, and cause massive harm.
How to detect radiation doses?
- Used to detect radiation levels Handheld detector
- Used to detect, locate the position, and measure dose levels Automatic detector
- When using the detectors, they should be calibrated and the alarms set to the appropriate radiation level to avoid false alarms.
- Used to detect radioactive material within goods, baggage, cars, and trucks
- Security staff will use the Handheld detector to conduct inspections when entering or exiting a nuclear power plan
Nuclear critical incident response
Nuclear Power Plants will plan and rehearse critical incident response with the Regulatory
Authority and other organizations such as the police, civil defense, and military.
Security staff working at a Nuclear site will be required to participate in incident response drills and understand the requirements that they must fulfill.
The details of these plans are kept secret on a need to know basis, and only Staff who have been cleared to work at these sites will receive the relevant response plans.
Oil and Gas plant security
Oil and Gas production facilities and disruption to these operations can cause major financial loss and potential the destabilization of the economy and society.
The provision of physical security is essential to safeguard against acts of sabotage or terrorism, and accidents or safety breaches.
Oil and Gas safety hazards
- Explosion and fires
- Vehicle collisions
- High-pressure pipes and equipment
- Falls from platforms and raised walking paths
- Noise and vibration of operating equipment
Oil and Gas Security threats
Oil and gas security threats may come from a variety of sources and these threats will be
monitored by National Security agencies and reported to the relevant organizations for better awareness.
As with most other sites, the means to protect oil and gas facilities can be achieved through the use of the 4 D‟s
These principles applied to an oil or gas site with the related technologies and monitoring systems. Public security forces such as the police or military are responsible to take action against the major breaches of security.
Oil and Gas critical incident response
- Fire or explosion
- Suspicious or confirmed explosive device
- Gas leak / Oil spill
Sites will prepare response plans for specific incidents and all staff will be involved in the rehearsal and practice of these plans.
Water treatment and desalination
Water desalinated plants, water dams, and sources of water resources also consider the national critical infrastructure.
Safety hazards in Water treatment facilities
The most serious hazards to health and safety at water treatment facilities include:
- Electrical transformers overheating causing a fire
- Leakage of treatment chemicals
- The explosion of high-pressure pumps
These hazards can control through regular inspection of equipment and servicing. Security staff should report any observations that may offer clues to equipment becoming worn or unsafe.
Security staff will require to maintain safety and security through applying:
- Access control
- Monitoring and inspection of high-security areas
- Reporting and follow up of incidents
Security staff will contribute to the safety of the industries and critical infrastructure security. If any security personnel who has deployed to for the clinical infrastructure security should prepare and learn about the complex issues in such vital facilities.