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Power plants are a vulnerable target, so security teams must regularly assess what's most likely to be considered a threat and improve their protection systems. 

Unsurprisingly, unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) like drones are high on the list of potential security concerns.

Being fast-moving, easy to manoeuvre, and discreet, drones are a popular choice for criminals trying to disturb a target location, or curious individuals looking to get a birds-eye view of restricted areas. 

How might drones threaten power plant airspace?

  • Hobbyist activity: accidentally or purposefully flying too close to facilities
  • Hostile threats: malicious surveillance of private or sensitive locations
  • Terrorist threats: using drones to drop explosives
  • Reputational damage: eroding confidence in your security operations, notably for governing bodies or the public

No matter how a UAS is used, the security threat is very real. In the UK, experts acknowledge the increasing risk of terrorists using drones to conduct attacks. While drones have been spotted flying above and near nuclear power plant airspace. How can you increase security against drones at your power plant?

How to Manage Drone Security for Power Plants

1. Implement Drone Detection Radar

Drone detection radar provides 24/7, real-time drone tracking, with instant classification of the UAS, if detected. This lets you understand if the threat is real, or if the object is something less worrying, like a bird. With this information you can respond quickly to drone activity. 

This is achieved with unique 3D technology that assists with classification. Long-range classification also helps you identify objects from further away, giving you greater understanding of what enters your perimeter, exactly when you need it.

Discover the 6 most important questions to ask before buying a drone detection  system in our free guide.

2. Report Drone Sightings

As early as 2004, governments have advised private pilots to avoid airspace over power plants. In the U.K, regulations were put in place in 2007 to make nuclear installations a 'no flying zone'. And this regulation has naturally extended to drones and other UAS'. As part of this constantly developing process, policymakers encourage power plant operations to report sightings to local authorities, and in the U.S., they even report sightings to the FAA or FBI

Additionally, you should actively encourage your workforce to report sightings, too. Creating a system that enables employees to quickly and efficiently report drones, and deliver that information delivered to the right people, is all important in tackling the evolving drone threat.

3. Remain Aware of Unintentional Threats

Not all drones will be malicious. Drones are now a popular recreational hobby for enthusiasts, with dedicated communities across different groups. Uses range from photography to travel to exploration. And a power plant might be a natural place for curiosity to overcome even the most well-meaning drone user. 

Despite this, it's still important to monitor drones closely. Power plants can use software that provides 24/7 visualisation of airspace to stay on track of this problem. It can be used in combination with the radar, to provide 3D visualisations of the radar data. This makes it easier to understand what's happening in your airspace, assess the potential threat, and react. 

If the drone turns out to be a legitimate threat, the system automatically and continuously logs the data.

Drone Security Should Be A Priority for Nuclear Power plants


Nuclear power plants are, by nature, extremely secure and robustly-guarded facilities. But no location is immune to the drone threat, especially as technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. What's key is finding the correct technologies that can help you strengthen security across your site. So when an object enters your airspace, you're always ready to react appropriately. 

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