By Ellen Messmer
June 02, 2010
Cyber attacks, pandemics and electromagnetic disturbances are the three
top "high impact" risks to the U.S. and Canadian power-generation grids,
according to a report from the North American Electric Reliability Corp.
"The specific concern with respect to these threats is the targeting of
multiple key nodes in the system, if damaged, destroyed or interrupted
in a coordinated fashion, could bring the system outside the protection
provided by traditional planning and operating criteria," states the
report, "High-Impact, Low-Frequency Risk to the North American Bulk
The contents of the 118-page report are largely the result of
closed-door discussions held since November by NERC (which plays a key
role in setting security standards for the U.S. power grid), power
providers and U.S. government officials.
The report, which calls for better coordination between U.S. power-grid
providers and the government, sets the stage for what may be new
guidelines and processes required to combat the major threats
identified, according to NERC officials.
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