The Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

The Center for Education and Research in
Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS)

ONR-BAA: Reactor Simulation Tool for Investigating the Resilience of a Cyberphysical Security Ecosystem

Research Areas: Cyber-Physical Systems

Principal Investigator: Lefteri Tsoukalas

   Digitalization of critical systems has attracted a lot of research interest during the past years, as it offers numerous advantages, such as reduction of system complexity, ability of remote monitoring, reduction of costs etc. However, the incorporation of digital control to critical systems projects major concerns, the most challenging of which is that of vulnerability towards cyber-attacks. This work investigates how the physics-based nature of a nuclear reactor can be exploited in order to enhance the resilience of this system.

   The main approach is to create a connection between the cyber-space actions with physical operational patterns in the system. This strategy can enable the early detection of cyber-attacks by monitoring the state of the system and by mapping cyber-events to physical faults, thus rendering the system resilient. A nuclear reactor model is built, with the purpose of simulating the actual system and monitoring its behavior towards targeted cyber-attacks. This simulation is a result of combining advanced reactor codes, such as SCALE/ORIGEN, MCNP, RELAP5 etc. with a control architecture. The final model is comprised of the physical and the control variables. Additionally, a Graphical User Interface (GUI) has a purpose of facilitating the interaction between the user and the system. The Purdue University Reactor-1 (PUR-1) serves as a testbed in order to perform benchmarking for model validation.


Other Faculty: Miltos Alamaniotis (Co-PI)

Students: Styliani Pantopoulou Clive H. Townsend Pola Lydia Lagari

Keywords: Critical System control, cyber physical systems, Cybersecurity