Drone Flying Over Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden Raises Security Concerns

International news site Reuters reports that Swedish police are hunting for an unmanned vehicle seen flying over the Forsmark Power station this weekend.  A large and weather-resistant drone flying over the nuclear power plant in Sweden, as political tensions between NATO and Russia rise, has raised security concerns around the globe and caused Swedish police to launch a full investigation.

Reports have described the drone, which does not seem to have dropped anything into the area, as large and able to withstand the strong winds that surrounded the area this weekend.  Unconfirmed reports of an additional drone flying over nuclear power plants in other areas of the country have added to concerns that Sweden’s electrical infrastructure may be under threat.  Forsmark is Sweden’s largest electricity producer.

The sightings highlight the need for governments and owners of sensitive areas to implement counter UAS technology as soon as possible.  While counter drone technology has developed rapidly, implementation has lagged behind: at a significant cost.  Well-established security systems are designed primarily to deal with ground-based threats: drones, which move quickly and are capable to getting detailed information from a significant distance, are much harder for security guards, CCTV, and other traditional measures to keep out.

The drones seen flying over Sweden’s nuclear power facilities are just the latest example of drone sightings – whether or not the drones seen are ultimately proven to be hostile – costing money and disrupting operations.  The Gatwick airport incident, in which drones flying near runways delayed thousands of passengers over the holiday season, cost the British government millions; counter UAS firm SkySafe says that it could easily have been avoided:

As demonstrated in the 2018 Gatwick airport incident, speed and accuracy are critical to airspace management.  When a hobbyist drone came within airport boundaries, more than 1,000 flights were diverted or canceled and an estimated 140,000 passengers were affected during the two days it took to identify the potential threat.  The incident caused panic, significant financial loss for the international airport and massive disruption to operations.  With SkySafe’s technology, the Gatwick incident could have been completely avoided.  What took days could have been solved in minutes.

As global tensions rise and legitimate commercial drones become more prevalent in the airspace and available to the public, authorities around the world will need to become accustomed to thinking of security in 3D: and implementing airspace security systems as well as fences to protect sensitive infrastructure.

Read more about counter UAS technology: Citadel, DroneShield, Fortem, and Liteye.