| 5 March 2024, Tuesday |

Was UK’s Sellafield nuclear plant hacked? Rishi Sunak govt tries to paper over explosive report


According to reports from the Guardian news outlet, cybergroups associated with Russia and China allegedly conducted hacks into the UK’s Sellafield nuclear plant, which is considered one of the most high-risk nuclear facilities in the country.
It is unknown when it came under cyberattack, but the report claimed that the authorities first detected that their systems were compromised in 2015 when they detected dangerous malware—software that is used to attack systems— in their computer systems at the plant in West Cumbria.

Since then, the senior staff at the nuclear site had been covering up that their systems were breached, the paper further claimed quoting sources.
However, it is still not clear whether the malware upon being spotted was neutralised at that time.

Russia and China actors linked to cyberattack
The paper suggests that malware may have leaked some of Sellafield’s most sensitive activities, such as moving radioactive waste, monitoring for leaks of dangerous material and checking for fires.

“It is likely foreign hackers have accessed the highest echelons of confidential material at the site, which sprawls across 6 sq km (2 sq miles) on the Cumbrian coast and is one of the most hazardous in the world,” the Guardian reported citing sources.

The Guardian’s expose is part of its year-long investigation into cyber hacking, radioactive contamination and toxic workplace culture at Sellafield.

Sellafield is controlled by the government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, and is located in northwest England and has 11,000 employees.

Govt deems report ‘inaccurate’
However, the allegations were promptly denied by the British government and the nuclear regulator deeming Guardian’s investigation as “inaccurate”.

“Our monitoring systems are robust and we have a high degree of confidence that no such malware exists on our system,” the government said in a statement.

“This was confirmed to the Guardian well in advance of publication, along with rebuttals to a number of other inaccuracies in their reporting.”

In a separate statement, Britain’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) also said it had seen no evidence that state actors had hacked its systems as the paper had described.

  • Wions