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Critical Infrastructure

Critical manufacturing infrastructures (critical infrastructure) are essential to the development of a modern society and a healthy economy. They are vital to contemporary lifestyles, to the supply of communication services and energy, and also to the manufacture of diverse industrial products. These infrastructures include, among others: Oil refineries, chemical plants, nuclear power plants, oil and gas fields, other power plants, and gas, water and power utilities.

Terror attacks and sabotage, such as the explosives found in the largest nuclear facility in Sweden in 2012; and natural disasters such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011, Hurricane Katrina in the southern USA in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in the northeaster USA in 2012, demonstrate the risks faced by critical infrastructures and the disastrous consequences they may suffer as a result of terror attacks, safety hazards and natural disasters. Cyber threats are also increasing, and beyond the potential effect on operation and the economic harm that may result from damage to critical infrastructures, they also present a grave risk of environmental damage. Logical sabotage can lead to physical sabotage, and consequently to safety risks as well, as evidenced by the Stuxnet incident in 2010.

When critical infrastructures are damaged, due to either man-made causes (crime, terror) or natural disasters, the effects can be catastrophic to:

  • Energy supply, health services, transport services, water and food supply

  • The public’s sense of security, national morale

  • Due to systems integration and networking, damage to one critical infrastructure may also quickly affect others

  • Nuclear power plants: danger of radiation leakage and poisoning

  • LNG (liquid natural gas) tanks: risk of explosion in the event of a leak or rupture of an LNG tank or conveyance system, when flammable concentrations of gas accumulate in confined spaces

  • Ammonia, which is a toxic substance that under some conditions can produce explosions.

  • Bromine, when released in certain concentrations, can lead to serious, long term health problems.

MTRS implements a five-step methodology for protecting critical manufacturing infrastructures:

  1. Step 1 – Security risk management plan

  2. Step 2 – High level planning

  3. Step 3 – Detailed design

  4. Step 4 – Implementation & integration

  5. Step 5 – Testing and commissioning

These five integrated steps in the design and implementation process are aimed at creating a coherent succession from the risk management process to the engineering design processes.

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