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Captain's Log

From Putin to Squirrels, Power Plants and the Grid are at Risk in War and Peace

Ben Parvey
March 11, 2022

One of the first strategic moves in Putin's war against Ukraine was to attack and seize the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

Today, power plants are vulnerable targets, and keeping the lights on is a strategic move to be used to frighten and weaken an entire population. Centralized power plants and every single inch of the distribution system of power lines are significant targets with infinite points of failure that can be used as targets by a brutal regime or by terrorists.

Even an aggressive squirrel can get into a transformer in the wrong place and cause a power outage that can impact millions of customers.

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When looking at vulnerabilities in modern society the power grid is one of the most obvious. Whether it is a force of nature, such as a hurricane, sudden wind gusts, ice storm, wildfires or the intentional or unintentional acts of man and beasts, the archaic grid and every single one of its components is targets. Is this security for modern life?

Do we really want to leave the safety and security of our modern lives subject to such vulnerabilities?

It doesn't even take a sophisticated army to seize a nuclear plant to knock out power. Power plants and the grid are controlled by computers. One capable teenage hacker can take down a power plant and leave us in the dark.

Every inch of the transmission and distribution system of power lines, substations, and central power plants could be a target for a brutal regime or an attacking terrorist group due to their infinite points of failure. And speaking of infinite points of failure, let's be real, power lines are just long extension cords strapped to stripped trees. From storms to drunk drivers, power lines come down constantly. This is 140-year-old technology powering our tech-based modern lives, and something needs to change.

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