New Initiative Aims to Strengthen UK's Nuclear Cybersecurity Posture

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The Chartered Institute of Information Security (CIISec) launched a new initiative this morning aimed at attracting talent, developing skills and encouraging best practices in the UK’s nuclear industry.

The Nuclear Sector Hub will be led by Mark Kendrew, CISO of the National Nuclear Laboratory, and is set to focus on the key challenges which may be exposing the sector to unnecessary cyber risk.

It will look to foster greater collaboration among a dispersed workforce, encouraging best practices, improving the skills and experience of cybersecurity professionals in the sector, and helping attract new recruits into the nuclear power industry.

CIISec noted that around 60,000 people work in the nuclear power sector both nationally and regionally, from enrichment to decommissioning and waste management. That can make it a challenge for security professionals to promote best practices across the workforce, it added.

CIISec’s Nuclear Hub will be supported by the institute’s Skills Framework, an industry standard for measuring the competencies of industry professionals.

Its work will focus not only on professionalizing the sector but also helping with professional development.

To that end, it will reach out to industry partners to ramp up efforts to recruit young people through cybersecurity apprenticeships and graduate programmes, as well as support those at later stages of their career, all the way up to the role of CISO.

“As a source of low-carbon power, the nuclear sector is a critical industry as the UK increasingly reduces its reliance on fossil fuels to create a greener future,” said Amanda Finch, CEO of CIISec.

“With its importance to the UK economy continuing to grow, it’s never been more important to ensure that the sector is well-positioned to fight cyber-threats. Key to this will be attracting and retaining a diverse pool of professionals into the industry, and ensuring they have the right skills to protect this unique infrastructure.”

However, like other areas of the economy, the nuclear power industry is struggling with cybersecurity skills shortages, she added.

“The objective of the Nuclear Hub is to highlight that the nuclear sector is an accessible industry to get into – many skills are transferable and there are opportunities within it for everyone,” Finch argued.

“Encouraging diverse and fresh talent into the industry, and then nurturing them throughout their careers, needs to be a priority. Without this, the industry will remain stagnant: unable to keep pace with and remain resilient against cyber-threats.”

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