Findings on Changing Risk and Building Codes

The Findings on Changing Risk and Building Codes statement outlines the work to be undertaken by the members of the Global Resiliency Dialogue, including:

-Identifying strategies for the identification of future risks and the development of building code solutions that support adaptation to those risks

-Cooperating on the development of international building resilience guidelines and further exploration of the relationship with land use planning instruments that help determine the location of buildings

-Supporting research initiatives to better understand climate science, to assist in aligning expectations for building durability and resilience with the projection of future hazards

-Developing and deploying messages and resources that enhance understanding of building codes, support a common understanding of risk, and communicate the importance of up-to-date building codes

-Advancing risk and impact analysis to recognize the multiple economic and social benefits provided by resilience investments and the desirability of alternative approaches that fully capture the benefits and costs provided by the building codes

Building Code Development/Research Organization Signatories:

  • Australian Building Codes Board
  • International Code Council
  • National Research Council Canada
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (New Zealand)

Download Findings on Changing Risk and Building Codes

Source - International Code Council (ICC)

JRC assesses critical raw materials for Europe’s green and digital future

The JRC publishes the results of assessments of selected raw materials, with factsheets and reports presenting the criticality of each.

The package also includes a foresight report, translating the EU’s climate-neutrality scenarios for 2030 and 2050 into the estimated demand for raw materials.

It identifies those materials most likely to have a supply risk in the future, for several strategic sectors in the EU. Critical raw materials are found in several green technologies, including electric vehicle batteries.

The findings contribute to the Commission’s fourth list of Critical Raw Materials (CRMs) for the EU. The list is part of a communication laying out an action plan to overcome the challenges posed to the secure and sustainable supply of raw materials.

The raw materials that have high economic importance and have a high supply risk are called 'critical' raw materials.

They are part of our daily lives. Tungsten makes phones vibrate. Gallium and indium are part of LED technology in lamps. Beryllium is used in fire-sprinkler systems installed in houses, restaurants, hospitals and offices. Tungsten and tantalum make up key components in airplanes and satellites. Niobium is fundamental in diagnostic medical devices.

They are also used in key technologies to achieve a carbon-neutral and digital society, such as batteries, fuel cells, solar and wind energy, robotics, ICT and 3D printing. As more of these technologies are deployed, the EU risks replacing its reliance on fossil fuels with dependency on raw materials.

In order to identify those materials that are most at risk of supply disruption and take action to secure that supply, the European Commission updates a list of critical raw materials (CRMs) for the EU every three years.

The 2020 list of CRMs for the EU contains 30 materials, compared to 27 in 2017, 20 in 2014, and 14 in 2011. Added to the list are:

Bauxite (mainly used for aluminium production);
Lithium (used in electric vehicle batteries);
Titanium (used in aeronautics, space and defence, as well as in medical applications);
Strontium (used in medical applications and in ceramic magnets)

The screening process assessed 83 materials in total (compared to 78 in 2017). Experts assessed the risk of a disruption in supply - both in relation to the source of the material and in terms of the sectors to which a material contributes.

This follows the official assessment methodology established in 2017. The list supports the EU in negotiating trade agreements, challenging trade distortions and in programming the research and innovation funding under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe.

Record floods threaten nuclear power site in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has experienced intense flooding covering at least a quarter of the country as it goes through monsoon season. NASA has released a map showing the extent of this year’s flooding from June to the end of July along the Jamuna River, where high danger levels have been reached or surpassed. Reported at the end of July, more than 4.7 million people have been affected and more than half of Bangladesh’s districts are flooded.

One of the areas affected is the Pabna district, home to the construction site of Bangladesh’s two nuclear power reactors at the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

In 2017, Bangladesh, with help from Russia, began building a nuclear power plant near the Padma River. Upon its planned completion in 2024, the two-unit nuclear power plant is intended to help meet growing energy demands and improve grid reliability. A 2011 agreement was made with Rosatom, a Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation, to facilitate the build of two nuclear reactors and establish a legal basis for nuclear cooperation between the two countries. Through this agreement, Rosatom is charged with building and operating all aspects of the nuclear reactor until the first completed year of operation. The deal included a $500 million loan from Russia to finance engineers and project development, the management of spent nuclear fuel, and nuclear technology exchanges between the two countries.

As Russia pushes forward with construction of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, Bangladesh faces major climate change risks from record heavy precipitation, sea-level rise, and climate-induced migration. After two months of rain, the Padma River beside the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant has almost doubled in size. Torrential rains and subsequent river erosion have flooded crops, villages, and critical infrastructure. The districts surrounding the nuclear plant are among some of the most affected in Bangladesh this season.

The site for the plant was selected almost 60 years ago in 1963, during a time when climate change did not factor into such decisions. Despite rising threats to the site from climate change, as well as dire projections for the future, plant construction began anyway in 2017. While a passive core flooding system was built to help avoid a catastrophe if an accident affects the reactor cores, increased climate variability and intensification pose a clear threat to the plant. Scientists tracking the intensity of extreme weather events in Bangladesh have stated that river flooding has become more severe and frequent with this monsoon season, possibly the longest lasting since 1988. Resting only 5,000 feet from the Padma river and below the Ganges delta, the plant is at constant risk.

Bangladesh will have to adapt to its changing climate and ensure that the utmost level of protection and precaution is taken to maintain Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant and the surrounding population’s safety. As climate change intensifies, the threat of severe damage to the nuclear power plant increases that could devastate millions.

Source - Center for Climate & Security

FEMA Awards $17.8 Million for Hurricane Irma Recovery in Florida

EMA has awarded grants totaling $17,820,727 for the State of Florida to reimburse applicants for eligible costs of emergency response and repairs to public facilities following Hurricane Irma.

FEMA’s Public Assistance program provides grants to state, tribal, and local governments, and certain types of private nonprofit organizations, including some houses of worship, so that communities can quickly respond to and recover from major disasters or emergencies. The Florida Division of Emergency Management works with FEMA during all phases of the program and conducts final reviews of FEMA-approved projects.

The federal share for projects is not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost. The state determines how the nonfederal share of the cost of a project (up to 25 percent) is split with the subrecipients like local and county governments.

Collaborative action of the CIP Coordination Center (ISF-P Action) and SecureGas H2020 project

KEMEA, The Center for Security Studies in Greece, being the national contact point for Critical Infrastructure Protection (according to Directive 2008/114), participates in the European project SecureGas (https://www.securegas-project.eu), which aims to strengthen resilience and security in the EU's Natural Gas networks. As part of the project, methodologies, guidelines and technological solutions aimed at processing information, assessing the risk associated with their natural and cyber threats, at early detection and warning, are being developed, adapted and integrated, with the aim of supporting the decision-making of CI operators and strengthening the resilience of gas infrastructure. The above are developed in the context of three Business Cases, with different needs and characteristics that cover all phases of the gas supply chain. The results of SecureGas will enhance the resilience of the EU's natural gas infrastructure by providing systematic control over the security of the latter, through a platform in the form of a service (Platform as a Service), and through the publication of relevant Directives and good practices.

KEMEA, in the context of utilizing its research activity and its role as a National Contact Point of CIP, implements the interconnection of the pilot CIP Coordination Center developed within the ISF-P Action with the NG infrastructures of the Greek case study (EDAA and DEPA) participating in the SecureGas project. For this purpose, at first level, geospatial information and data for the assets of these infrastructures have been introduced in the Geographic Information Systems platform of the Coordination Center. For some of the elements of the Infrastructures that were introduced, 3D models and orthophoto maps were created (with the help of terrestrial and aerial shots by UAVs), in support of realistic emergency scenarios. The Geographic Information Systems platform of the Coordination Center allows the display and processing of the above products / models in a customized mapping environment, and in combination with other relevant geographic layers of thematic data.

Meanwhile, following physical and online meetings and exchanges, the interconnection / interoperability of the INCIDENT REPORTING (IR) application of the Coordination Center was agreed with the developing tool of SecureGas (RISK AWARE INFORMATION TO THE POPULATION). The latter regards the assessment and communication of information upon incidents risk to the competent crisis management bodies, through which information is provided to the operators of other infrastructures and to the population. The IR application of the Coordination Center has been adapted to meet the requirements of SecureGas infrastructures, in order to function as a hub for the transmission of information related to critical events in NG infrastructures, from the operators of the latter to Emergency response Services and Authorities (e.g. Police, Fire Brigade, etc.).

In addition, the team of the Coordination Center is in collaboration with the technical partners and the Greek managers of SecureGas infrastructures, in order to create and integrate in the Knowledge Base of the RISK application of the Coordination Center, empirical knowledge rules for risk assessment of NG infrastructures.

The cooperation and synergy between the two projects is expected to significantly improve the scientific results and their technical deliverables and to establish a methodological and technological basis for relevant future actions also in other sectors of critical infrastructures.

The abovementioned possibilities were presented during an online seminar on security issues and projects organized by KEMEA for the research associates of the Center and was attended by fifty researchers.

Nuclear operators face increasing climate risks, but resiliency investments mitigate impact

New report by Moodys highlights: Climate hazards are likely to worsen for nuclear power plant operators over the next two decades, with severity varying by region; Ultimate credit impact depends on the ability of plant operators to invest in mitigating measures to manage risks

Over the next 10 to 20 years, nuclear operators will face growing credit risks associated with climate change, Moody's Investors Service says in a new report. Utilizing data from Moody's affiliate Four Twenty Seven, the report examines the exposure of nuclear power plants to the heightened risk of extreme weather events or conditions brought on by acute climate change.

"Nuclear power reactors are some of the most hardened industrial assets in the US, but they still face rising climate risks, especially if they look to extend their operating licenses for another 20 years," said David Kamran, a Moody's Analyst.

While nuclear plants are among the most hardened infrastructure assets, plant operators may have to take added measures to offset exposure to these growing climate risks, Moody's says. The proximity of power plants to large bodies of water leaves them vulnerable to flooding, hurricanes, and storm surges, which increases the risk of damage to the plant or essential equipment.

Rising heat and water stress also poses a risk to plant operations. "Parts of the Midwest and southern Florida face the highest levels of heat stress, while the Rocky Mountain region and California face the greatest uncertainty regarding long-term water supplies, Kamran said. "We count about 48 GW of nuclear capacity with elevated exposure to combined rising heat and water stress across the US."

For regulated or cost based nuclear plants, representing 55 GW of generating capacity, the credit impact of these climate risks is likely to be more modest given their ability to recoup costs through rate recovery mechanisms. Many of these plants face higher risks of floods and hurricanes due to their locations.

For market-based nuclear plants, the credit impact of climate risks is likely to be more pronounced relative to cost based plants, given they don't have the ability to recoup costs through rate recovery mechanisms. These plants face elevated heat stress, with more locations facing high and red flag water stress, according to Four Twenty Seven.

Given pressure to support baseload demand, Moody's expects many nuclear plant operators to file for license extensions over the next decade. Because their ability to operate effectively will be impacted by climate hazards, nuclear plant operators will continue to determine the exposure they face and design and implement resilience measures to adapt to these risks.

The report can be accessed at: http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1230101

Australian Government launch consultation on protection of critical infrastructures

The Australian Government is committed to protecting the essential services all Australians rely on by uplifting the security and resilience of critical infrastructure.

The Government’s commitment to the continued prosperity of its economy and businesses is unwavering. The impacts of recent events only reinforce the need for collaboration between and across critical infrastructure sectors and Government to protect our economy, security and sovereignty.

At the same time, Government recognises the additional economic challenges facing many sectors and entities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome it seek is clear - they want to work in partnership to develop proportionate requirements that strike a balance between uplifting security, and ensuring businesses remain viable and services remain sustainable, accessible and affordable. An uplift in security and resilience across critical infrastructure sectors will mean that all businesses will benefit from strengthened protections to the networks, systems and services we all depend on.

An enhanced critical infrastructure framework

The primary objective of the proposed enhanced framework is to protect Australia’s critical infrastructure from all hazards, including the dynamic and potentially catastrophic cascading threats enabled by cyber attacks.

The enhanced framework outlines a need for an uplift in security and resilience in all critical infrastructure sectors, combined with better identification and sharing of threats in order to make Australia’s critical infrastructure – whether industry or government owned and operated – more resilient and secure. This approach will prioritise acting ahead of an incident wherever possible.

Government has agreed that the proposed enhanced framework will apply to an expanded set of critical infrastructure sectors, comprising of three key elements:

  1. Positive Security Obligation, including:
    a. set and enforced baseline protections against all hazards for critical infrastructure and systems, implemented through sector-specific standards proportionate to risk.
  2. Enhanced cyber security obligations that establish:
    a. the ability for Government to request information to contribute to a near real-time national threat picture;
    b. owner and operator participation in preparatory activities with Government; and
    c. the co-development of a scenario based ‘playbook’ that sets out response arrangements.
  3. Government assistance for entities that are the target or victim of a cyber attack, through the establishment of a Government capability and authorities to disrupt and respond to threats in an emergency.

These three initiatives will be underpinned by an enhanced Government-industry partnership across all hazards.

The Government intends to consult with stakeholders during and after receiving submissions. This will also allow us to assess the impact of proposed reforms and refine the development of the enhanced framework.

Further details can be viewed at https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/reports-and-pubs/files/protecting-critical-infrastructure-systems-consultation-paper.pdf

GNSS Firewall Software to Strengthen Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) Protection

Critical infrastructure systems including power utilities, financial services, mobile networks and transportation rely on Global Positioning System (GPS)-delivered timing to ensure ongoing operations. Microchip Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: MCHP) today announced the release of a major software update for its BlueSky™ GNSS Firewall product, providing a higher level of resiliency against GPS vulnerabilities for systems dependent on GPS signal reception.

Microchip's BlueSky GNSS Firewall Software Release 2.0 performs real-time analysis to detect jamming and spoofing for protecting reception of the GPS signal and hardening response and recovery to avoid signal disruption. BlueSky GNSS Firewall Software Release 2.0 includes charting and advanced threshold settings of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) observables such as satellites-in-view, carrier-to-noise, position dispersion, phase time deviation and radio frequency (RF) power level to simplify system turn-up and deployment.

BlueSky GNSS Firewall Software Release 2.0 includes improvements developed by Microchip as a result of participation in an industry live-sky testing event hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate and open to all providers. Microchip's participation in the DHS-hosted GPS Testing for Critical Infrastructure (GET-CI) events, with scenarios including spoofed signals, has helped the company to identify new solutions to prevent signal disruptions. As a result of 2019 live-sky testing and other input, Microchip developed the Blue Sky GNSS Firewall Software Release 2.0 to address operators' evolving requirements.

National Grid Welcomed to European CNI Forum

The European Network for Cyber Security (ENCS) has welcomed National Grid as its first UK member, saying the UK’s transmission system operator (TSO) is among Europe’s “most sophisticated” in terms of cybersecurity posture, and its membership will boost knowledge sharing.

The ENCS is a member-led organisation that works to boost the security of EU energy grids and infrastructure in the face of hyperactive probing by bad actors, and, arguably, distinctly half-baked regulation that fails to penalise manufacturers for insecure components.

Among other efforts, ENCS has baked security requirement guidance into procurement cycles across its membership base and developed testing capabilities to risk-assess things like smart metres; this has now expanded to other areas of the grid, like distribution automation and other tools.

Paul Lee, an engineering manager for cyber and control systems at National Grid said in a statement shared by ENCS: “We have robust cybersecurity measures in place across all our operational infrastructure and IT to protect against cyber threats, but our membership will help us to benefit from ENCS knowledge base as we share information with other members, contributing to increased protection across all critical infrastructure”.

ENCS’s MD Nijk said, “Grid infrastructure has evolved with dramatic speed. Partnering with domain operators to build an expert pool is vital to our members need to be fast and effective [in building up their security] instead of waiting for regulations”.

“National Grid already ranks among the most sophisticated TSOs in terms of cyber security, and by joining ENCS, it demonstrates its commitment to that improving even further” he said in a canned statement.

[Source: Computer Business Review]