Project brings private mobile networks to nuclear plants

Project brings private mobile networks to nuclear plants

Business news |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

EDF, Thales and Ericsson have partnered on CONNECT, a project to bring secure cellular connectivity to all of EDF’s nuclear energy sites in France. Thales, a leader in network design and operation, is deploying secure communications services while also guaranteeing the overall system integration and secure networking. Ericsson is providing innovative 4G private mobile network products as well as the core network, to ensure high-performance connectivity, resilience, and security.

Due to the specific needs of the energy giant, cybersecurity is a key element of this collaboration and has been integrated into every step of deployment.

The new private mobile network solution will enhance site performance, maintenance, operations, and logistics. Enhanced connectivity, for example, will allow EDF employees and their partners to have remote access to all needed resources via secure terminals. The new network infrastructure has been purpose built for EDF, ensuring that the specific needs of the nuclear power provider, such as scalability, flexibility, and cybersecurity are in place. An evolution towards 5G is possible in the long term.

The first nuclear plant to benefit from the CONNECT project is Blayais. After a successful joint pilot, connectivity at the Blayais site is now being operated independently by EDF. Rollout of the system to EDF’s other power plants is scheduled for 2021 at a rate of two to four plants per year.

Bruno Suty, Director of Information Systems and Digital at EDF Group’s Nuclear and Thermal Production Division, says: “The CONNECT project enables the integration of new use cases linked to the digital transition in our production units, including in the industrial field. The deployment of this secure 4G network really enables us to improve performance and efficiency and will considerably simplify the work of teams in the field.”

Jean-Claude Schmitt, Vice President, Networks and Infrastructure Systems at Thales, says: “With recognized expertise and world-class equipment, Thales combines its know-how with the innovation and performance of the French SMB ecosystem to provide a secure, fully integrated system that meets our customers’ specific needs.”

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