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INL secures electrical grid

By Bre Clark
Published On: Jun 03 2014 08:04:18 PM CDT

The Idaho National Laboratory is increasing its electrical grid security.

INL SITE, Idaho -

The Idaho National Laboratory is increasing its electrical grid security.

INL and Homeland Security Test Range engineer Wayne Ridgway said the lab has many factors to consider when securing the grid's reliability.

"The grid can have natural disasters, storms, hurricanes, we've seen that across the country," he said.

Ridgway said the grid can be a prime target for cyberattacks, which is why regular stress tests are so important.

"We need the power as well as everyone else, we just have the capability to isolate areas for testing where we don't impact our normal operations," he said.

Engineers use a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to control seven substations and power lines, up to 15 miles apart, hundreds of miles across the desert. The SCADA system allows engineers to efficiently monitor the security, as well as any issue that may occur. During test isolation, the system helps experts determine weaknesses throughout the grid to encourage restructuring and grid enhancements.

"We're trying to look at the bigger picture, the long-term effects of power outages and how to shorten the impacts and reduce the overall concerns of what might happen," said Ridgway.

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