Unauthorized UAVs above French Nuclear Plants Spark Critical Infrastructure Security Concerns

11/20/2014 03:29 pm

As reported recently by the New York Times, from October 5th through November 2nd, guards at 13 different French nuclear plants witnessed unauthorized civilian or commercial drones buzzing dangerously close overhead. Flying drones one kilometer over or 5 kilometers around nuclear sites is illegal in France and punishable by up to a year of jail time and about a $94,000 fine.

With a total of 19 nuclear plants in France, they are responsible for supplying power as the primary source of energy for the country; these incidents are raising serious security concerns surrounding critical infrastructures as drones are becoming more popular and easily attainable.  

While the UAV market has seen a spectacular boost in recent years, for both military applications-currently providing credible intelligence in Iraq against the Islamic State-and commercial applications, which can be worrisome as recreational UAV operators can be anyone from anywhere. More worrying, however, is the use of these devices for terrorist actions, because they can carry a payload and are hardly detectable by traditional radars. A solution to be able to detect and track these autonomous objects from creating detrimental damage to the most important critical infrastructures around the globe is paramount to keeping millions of people safe.  

One of the solutions that emerges for detecting these type of threats is Spynel. The Spynel, from Electro Optical Industries, is an innovative sensor with powerful and reliable UAV detection and tracking over an ultra-wide area. SPYNEL systems feature a 360 degree infrared thermal imaging camera and advanced image analysis software, Cyclope, with automatic detection and tracking capabilities. It can detect and track large thermal engine UAVs in real time up to 11 km away, through any type of inclement weather, day or night as well as smaller quad rotor ones at shorter distances. Spynel systems can also gather forensic information at any time to replay any event captured. This flexibility can provide clear event documentation that could be used as legal evidence.   

Spynel systems have been deployed and proven since 2007, providing persistent wide area surveillance for air, land and maritime targets protecting critical infrastructures (nuclear sites, offshore oil platforms), airports, borders, ports and forward operating bases.