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Nuclear power cyber attack test revealed

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A cyber attack on UK and US nuclear energy facilities is to be simulated to test the way the industries on both sides of the Atlantic respond.

Prime minister David Cameron announced the joint exercise at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington yesterday.

Cameron said the test would take place in 2017 to assess the readiness of the governments and nuclear firms for a major cyber attack and to find ways the two countries can work together in such an event.

It comes after last year’s Operation Resilient Shield which explored responses to potential online attacks on the countries’ biggest banks.

Countries including Japan, Argentina, the Republic of Korea and Turkey have signed up to a series of workshops to be hosted by the UK this year to examine the threats facing the nuclear sector.

Also at the Washington summit this week, Cameron revealed a landmark deal with the US and EU on a multilateral swap of nuclear material to help diagnose and treat cancer.

The UK will transfer about 700kg of excess highly enriched uranium (HEU) from the Dounreay nuclear site on the north coast of Scotland to the US. This will reduce Britain’s overall stockpile of nuclear material.

The US will send a different type of HEU to the European Atomic Energy Community in France, where it will be converted into medical isotopes that can be used in radiotherapy to diagnose and treat conditions such as thyroid cancer.

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