What is Critical Infrastructure
Critical infrastructure is essential, but what does that mean?
Consider a power plant or a hospital: What would happen if the power plant was bombed, or the hospital flooded in a hurricane? At worst, people could die. At best, people would suffer. This example illustrates what sets critical infrastructure apart from other buildings. When critical infrastructure is threatened, public health, public safety, or national security is compromised.
Within the government, different agencies have responsibility for spearheading critical infrastructure protection. For example, the Department of Energy protects energy-specific assets. Private companies and individuals also play a role in critical infrastructure protection.
Since the threats from which critical infrastructure must be protected are diverse, a range of solutions is needed to reduce a facility's exposure to risk.
Now that you understand the critical infrastructure and key resources definition, explore why critical infrastructure is important and what different sectors that make up the nation's critical infrastructure.
Why is Critical Infrastructure Important
Critical infrastructure doesn't just exist for one industry or vertical. There are 16 different sectors that need security solutions. What unites each of the sectors is their critical important to public health, public safety, and national security.
Today, there are many threats to our infrastructure, from weather-related threats to man-made hazards. Consider that if an individual or group of persons destroys a power plant, a large portion of our citizens will no longer have access to power. Thus, these programs must be protected.
So what are the 16 critical infrastructure and key resources? They include:
- Agriculture and Food
- Commercial Facilities
- Defense Industrial Base
- Emergency Services
- Manufacturing (Critical)
- Finance Services
- Government Facilities
- Healthcare / Public Health
- Information Technology
- Wastewater and Water Systems
- Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste
- Transportation Systems
Four of these systems constitute critical infrastructure lifeline sectors: Transportation, communication, water and wastewater, and energy.
Examples of Key Resources
A few examples of critical infrastructure and key resources will illustrate the ways that assets, such as a nuclear power plant, can be protected against threats.
Continuing with the example of a nuclear power plant, what threats might the plant face? Weather disasters are top of mind, as are threats from bad actors, whether individual or group.
Facility access control reduces threats by making the power plant hard to reach. Placing Massive Modular Blast Barriers or MMBBs around the perimeter of the power plant greatly reduces access. These explosive-resistant barriers block vehicles.
While MMBBs alone significantly reduce threats, nuclear plants must still plan for the "what if" of a bad actor gaining access to the facility. Here, blast and ballistics enclosures come to mind. Blast systems shelter plant workers from bombs and gunfire while ballistics enclosures protect the physical safety of staff, assets, and resources. From wall-barrier systems to tower enclosures, there are many styles of blast and ballistics enclosures for critical infrastructure safety.
The combination of blast, ballistics, and MMBBs keeps threats away from the power plant, shelters workers and assets in the rare event the perimeter is breached, and assures the plant's continued operation despite threat.
These systems won't help the plant survive a natural disaster, since high winds or flood waters can easily breach a defensive barrier. For weather-related threats, mission critical becomes protecting essential personnel from extreme weather, so they can perform essential safety tasks to reduce risk. Kontek has experience assisting Gulf Coast states with hurricane defense through the development of warehouses for workers, which are capable of withstanding Category 5 storms.
Contact Kontek Industries for Infrastructure Solutions
Kontek provides critical infrastructure solutions for nuclear power plants. To learn how we can provide solutions to your critical infrastructure challenges, reserve a free consultation now.