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Vol. 52, No. 3 February 11, 2000
[Sandia National Laboratories]

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-0165    ||   Livermore, California 94550-0969
Tonopah, Nevada; Nevada Test Site; Amarillo, Texas

Sandia's Critical Infrastructure Protection initiative picks up steam
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By John German

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Sandia's Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) initiative, announced in May 1998 (Lab News, May 22, 1998), is making significant headway in the national scene, says Sam Varnado, Director of Energy & Critical Infrastructure Center 6200. "In the past 18 months Sandia has established its reputation as a key national player in critical infrastructure protection," he says. "Now that Y2K is behind us we expect government and industry to turn their attentions toward protecting critical infrastructures. Consequently, we expect to see additional national focus on this issue." Sandia's CIP program focuses on five areas of Labs expertise, he says. Electric Grid Reliability -- The restructuring of the nation's electric power grid is forcing the system to operate in modes for which it was never designed, and reliability is decreasing, says Sam. Further, according to some estimates, by the year 2025 half of the nation's electricity will be used for Internet and e-commerce activities, he says, so "power quality" will become an important market segment. Sandia is examining electric power reliability issues on several fronts, including modeling and simulation of interconnected systems, risk assessments, economic consequences of disruptions, and security of grid information and communication systems. Modeling of Interdependencies -- Sandia is using system modeling and simulation tools to understand infrastructure interdependencies, such as "how the banking industry depends on telecommunications, how telecommunications depends on electricity, how electric utilities depend on gas and coal, and how they all affect the economy," says Sam. The ultimate goal is to understand and prevent the possibility of "cascading failures" that start as a disruption of one infrastructure element and cause major nationwide disruptions of whole infrastructures or industries. Consequence-based analysis -- Sandia is designing consequence-based modeling tools to help industry and government understand the consequences of disruptions, show how those disruptions might occur, and then suggest cost-effective ways of preventing them. The goal is to reveal where investments in critical infrastructure protection would have the greatest impact. Oil and gas -- Sandia is working with the oil and natural gas industries to design information and electronic-transaction systems that are secure against cyber-terrorism, electronic "gaming" of the market, and other disruptions. Surety assessments -- Sandia conducts as-needed assessments of the safety, security, and reliability of critical infrastructure facilities and elements. The Labs has current projects in surety assessments of dams, water supply systems, nuclear power plants, banks, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

Last modiŞed: February 23, 2000

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