INL Resilience Optimization Center

Our Expertise

IROC’s multi-disciplinary team leverages world-class research, facilities, and capabilities to analyze the state of system resilience and develop unique, value-conscious, and mission-driven solutions.

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Areas of Expertise

 

Cyber Systems

Cyber Security & Resilience Assessments

 

Expansion of the internet, digital control systems, and wireless device connectivity has created a paradox – more efficient and effective operations, but dramatically increased cyber-attack vector surfaces. INL cyber security researchers leverage cyber terrorist and hacker methods in order to help our customers protect themselves, their businesses, and their stakeholders. INL works with a broad range of industries and vendors to develop mitigation techniques and tools, supported by our vast infrastructure test range, to reduce the cyber vulnerabilities found in many of the nation’s critical infrastructures.

Consequence-Driven Cyber-Informed Engineering

 

Consequence-driven Cyber-informed Engineering (CCE) provides a method for discovering the information needed to calculate cyber risk to critical operations, and manage it with engineered solutions that disrupt a physical cyber attack. CCE employs a four-step process for safeguarding critical operations that includes: consequence prioritization, system of systems breakdown, consequence-based targeting, and mitigations and protection plans to remove or disrupt the digital attack vectors as much as possible. With CCE, INL fully leverages an organization’s deep engineering and operations expertise, including detailed systems and process knowledge to engineer out the cyber risks.

Cyber-Informed Engineering

 

Cyber-informed engineering (CIE) incorporates cyber security thinking into engineering decisions to maximize the potential for engineering out cyber risk to industrial systems. CIE contains the following elements:

• Consequence/Impact Analysis
• Systems Architecture
• Engineered Controls
• Design Simplification
• Resilience Planning
• Engineering Information Control
• Procurement and Contracting
• Interdependencies
• Cyber Security Culture
• Digital Asset Inventory
• Active Process Defense

A whitepaper and maturity model is available for entities to use for measuring and increasing their ability to mitigate cyber risks.

Cyber Supply Chain

 

INL’s Component Analysis for Industrial Control Systems research area examines the potential vulnerabilities within the hardware and software components incorporated into industrial control and operational technology systems. These vulnerabilities can weaken the security of an overall system and cause catastrophic failure. Because these components may be used for multiple systems from multiple vendors, we analyze the potential for common mode vulnerabilities. Using the laboratory’s deep reverse engineering expertise, the team identifies common-mode vulnerabilities and develops mitigations to share with vendors and asset owners. INL experts can also recommend improvements to digital supply chain practices.

Incident Response

 

INL’s site contains components that are representative of U.S. critical infrastructure, including power distribution, transportation (road and rail), communication (wired and wireless), and urban and rural terrains. We provide radiological training for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) incident response field exercises, and we are approved for chemical and biological simulants and radiological sources for realistic, scenario-based training. Staff available for training exercises include onsite fire department, hazmat emergency responders, medical, physical, and craft support.

5G Security and Resilience

 

Fifth generation (5G) cellular technologies promise enormously faster speeds than currently deployed 4G/ LTE systems. Current estimates indicate that 5G could become available by 2020, and now is the time to begin planning, adapting, and analyzing impacts on future national energy operations and security. Because 5G technology depends on 4G/LTE infrastructure as well as all interconnected communications media (fiber, microwave, cable, satellite), INL’s Wireless Test Bed is well-positioned to address these challenges. INL sets up real-world 5G scenarios to test, demonstrate, measure and analyze the performance as well as provide real-world data to validate standards and expedite the development of 5G technologies.

Intelligent Instrumentation & Control

Cyber State Awareness & Resilient Design

 

A resilient control system maintains an accepted level of operational normalcy in response to disturbances, including malicious threats. Dynamic probabilistic risk analysis mechanisms that can link human reliability with the system state are still maturing. The variability of an adversary’s intellectual level, background, objective, and motives make stochastic methods unusable. In addition, the adversary has an advantage when existing control system architecture is not random, and response characteristics are reproducible. Therefore, a resilient design offers strength by becoming atypical of normal control system architectural design. Active recognition, coupled with modification and obfuscation of the environment, provides resilience to attack.

Autonomic Intelligent Cyber Sensor

 

Autonomic Intelligent Cyber Sensor (AICS) works autonomously using machine learning to give industries the power to quickly identify and divert hackers from industrial control systems. It can identify anomalous network traffic, alert operators, and deploy virtual decoys to slow or halt hacking attempts. Following installation and an initial learning phase, AICS automatically updates what it knows about a control system, adapting and remapping as it goes. AICS sets up and continually updates decoy virtual hosts – honeypots – to distract attackers from targets, giving asset owners the ability and time to gather information that can help identify both a hacking threat and a potentially compromised system.

Full Scale Infrastructure Testing

Wireless Test Bed

 

INL’s Wireless Test Bed provides industrial, commercial, and academic users with access to the full capacity of INL’s wireless resources. With suitable sponsorship, academic institutions interested in openly published work may perform research, experimentation, and testing at minimal cost. INL personnel are leading efforts in standards committees and special interest groups regarding wireless innovation; public safety and disaster recovery communications; spectrum sharing research databases and formats; and security vulnerabilities in commercial wireless systems.

Water Security Test Bed

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Water Security Test Bed (WSTB) at INL to inform responses to disasters that interrupt domestic water supplies. About 450 feet of eight-inch piping is assembled above ground to simulate a full-scale distribution system. Researchers are able to easily modify the system and contain any nefarious agents that may be injected into the pipe as part of an experiment. A typical experiment involves injecting a biological or chemical agent followed by flushing, chlorination, or other decontamination methods.

Explosive Test Range

 

The complex consists of eight indoor and outdoor ranges as well as tactical training facilities located on 330 acres of isolated, desert-type terrain. The facilities support R&D, training and testing of handguns, rifles, and heavy weapons such as machine guns, precision rifles, grenade launchers and shoulder-fired, anti-armor weapons. Explosive training and testing, including breaching, is also conducted. INL develops bulk explosives detection technologies, including development and demonstration of the Idaho Explosives Detection System (IEDS) for cargo truck inspections at entry points to Department of Defense facilities.

Power Grid Test Bed

 

INL facilities are spread across 890 square miles in clusters similar to modern cities and other environments. Due to this, INL operates its own electrical power transmission and distribution system. The 61-mile, 138-kV dual-fed power loop comes complete with seven substations and a control center, all linked with state-of-the-art communications and instrumentation capabilities. Portions of the power loop can be isolated and reconfigured for independent, specialized testing.

Microgrid Test Bed

 

INL’s microgrid test bed includes solar panels, energy storage devices, load banks, smart inverters, a power distribution system, and multiple switchgear sets. It also includes “smart home” components such as appliances and other loads that can dynamically adjust their electricity demand. The system’s load control capabilities and grid interaction algorithms allow researchers to study demand response, peak shaving and ancillary services, and to test component interactions, performance, controls and integration challenges.

Unmanned Aerial Systems Test Range

With its access-controlled boundary, high-desert terrain and sparse population, INL’s desert site is in a unique position to offer unmanned aerial vehicle and unmanned ground vehicle collaborative operational testing and demonstration. INL’s UAS program focuses on unique applications and missions for a wide variety of customers looking for affordable, field-deployable airframe technologies with meaningful payload and endurance. The lab’s UAS training is designed to ensure that unmanned aerial vehicles are used properly throughout the Department of Energy and its National Nuclear Security Administration. The range also supports implementation of new legislation regarding protection of critical infrastructure.

Nuclear & Radiological Activity Center

 

The Nuclear and Radiological Activity Center (NRAC) is where nuclear research, technology evaluation, and training capabilities come together to provide access and support to nuclear nonproliferation programs. INL’s radiological facilities and expansive site provide an unprecedented environment for research, demonstration, and realistic training exercises aligned with today’s national security challenges. NRAC programs offer unprecedented adaptability with access to special nuclear materials, unique infrastructure, capabilities and nuclear expertise.

Emergency Planning and Response

Emergency Management

 

INL’s Emergency Management organization responds to emergencies at INL facilities. It implements immediate actions to ensure the health and safety of workers, public, property, the environment, and national security. It also implements INL’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP). The COOP ensures that, during a continuity event, INL can deliver its primary mission essential function (PMEF) to maintain the safety and security of special nuclear material at INL under extreme conditions. INL must have the ability to continue its PMEF up to 30 to 60 days despite circumstances that may limit access to resources including personnel, facilities, information systems, and communications.

Radiological Response Test Range

As the nation’s lead nuclear energy research lab, INL employs world-renowned nuclear scientists, engineers, and nonproliferation experts who lead immersive, hands-on responder training. Field activities can involve the strategic placement of radioactive sources  as to practice in conditions similar to real deployment. The laboratory’s 890-square-mile site can be used for large-scale interagency technology and capability demonstrations. Students also have access to nuclear facilities including operating reactors, hot cells, and analytical laboratories inside a controlled location that provides a safe and secure environment for training.

Infrastructure Systems

 

Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure are becoming more strategic and targeted. INL is addressing challenges for overlapping sectors of the energy system (power grid, oil and gas, nuclear, transportation), defense critical infrastructure and mission platforms, and the common systems embedded in all physical processes and infrastructures. Capabilities range from wireless communications, power, and controls to experts and tools that can help partners strategically realign their control system’s cyber security posture. INL maintains full-scale research infrastructure — including an isolated power grid along with water and telecommunication distribution systems — which can replicate a region or municipality.

Vulnerability and Risk Analysis

Regional Assessments 

 

INL conducts voluntary, non-regulatory, cooperative assessments of specific critical infrastructure within a designated geographic area. Combined with a regional analysis of the surrounding infrastructure, INL experts can address a range of infrastructure resilience issues that could have regionally and nationally significant consequences. The goal is to resolve infrastructure security and resilience knowledge gaps, inform risk management decisions, and identify opportunities and strategies to enhance infrastructure resilience.

All Hazards Analysis

The All Hazards Analysis Knowledge Framework (AHA) is a dynamic analytical framework that enables critical infrastructure knowledge discovery and decision support across the five mission areas – prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery. AHA provides the ability to store and model infrastructure systems as linked multigraphs providing an intuitive and natural representation. This capability provides the foundation to rapidly evaluate and understand the potential consequences of manmade and natural disaster on these systems.

Probabilisitc Risk Assessment and SAPHIRE

INL experts developed SAPHIRE more than 20 years ago for the Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). SAPHIRE creates and analyzes probabilistic risk assessments (PRA), primarily for nuclear power plants, but for other systems as well. Basic events — different parts and pieces that can fail in a given system — can be pumps or valves in a nuclear plant, computers, or batteries on a space shuttle. SAPHIRE can evaluate thousands of basic events and produce different possible failure scenarios. INL acts as a software developer and interface to the user community, including training and technology transfer.

Critical Infrastructure Security

 

 

INL takes a multidisciplinary approach to address infrastructure protection and resilience, control systems cyber-security, and risk management. The lab’s holistic risk management and mitigation approach uses infrastructure visualization tools, geospatial technologies, modeling and simulation, vulnerability assessment, and informed incident response.

Integrated Energy Solutions

The Dynamic Energy Transport and Integration Laboratory

 

INL is linking three functional elements to understand the technical issues of integrated energy systems that directly use the excess heat rejected from electricity generation plants. The Dynamic Energy Transport and Integration Laboratory (DETAIL) will initially integrate a grid simulator with an electrically heated nuclear plant simulator that will generate heat for a steam electrolysis station making hydrogen. Advanced integrated energy systems such as this could couple nuclear, renewable, and fossil energy sources to produce electrical and nonelectrical energy products. Such systems offer efficiencies that can lead to energy independence, economic competitiveness, job creation, and smarter use of resources.

Joint Use Modular Plant 

 

The Joint Use Modular Plant (JUMP) will perform nuclear energy research using the first reactor module planned for the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP), a small modular nuclear power plant being built on the INL Site in the mid-2020s. The module will support research and development into storage of thermal energy, integration with other energy sources, and potentially hydrogen production and desalinization. It will allow researchers to understand the impacts of interfacing these technologies with a full-scale nuclear plant.

Forward Deployable Microgrid

 

Military bases require reliable power with backup systems that can take over if the primary grid is interrupted. Diesel generators can provide such backup. However, as bases incorporate more renewable sources such as wind and solar, the resulting swings in usage can stress generators and shorten their life spans. Such bases look to INL’s experts for solutions. The lab has expertise in renewable resource assessment, grid integration, and resilient power systems. INL’s engineers welcome the opportunity to move those concepts from the lab setting to real-world demonstrations. This will provid e technical input and guidance for more than 25 Department of Defense projects all over the U.S. and abroad.

Connected Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure

 

The transportation sector is on the verge of dramatic change. Rapid technology development and evolving consumer preferences are enabling market penetration of autonomous, connected, electric, and shared (ACES) mobility. INL is studying how the electrification and automation of a wide array of vehicle types will affect critical infrastructure and grid resilience. INL’s state-of-the-art Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Laboratory and Real-Time Power & Energy Systems Laboratory enable cutting-edge research into intelligent, secure integration of future mobility with the grid. This includes understanding, prioritizing, and mitigating cybersecurity risks of ACES mobility and connected infrastructure.

Energy Storage Laboratory

INL’s Battery Test Center can test everything from watch-sized batteries to full-sized vehicle battery packs. Data from the laboratory is recognized as some of the most objective and accurate available. INL battery research combines real-world applications and laboratory test data into reliable information for researchers, designers, and industry. Outcomes ensure that different technologies have the power and energy necessary to be able to meet performance expectations and needs over their expected lifetimes. Analyses evaluate the ability to meet demands and key technology or materials science gaps that could limit performance.

Modeling & Simulation

Hardware in the Loop

 

INL can incorporate real-world data, hardware, and software into real-time simulations. Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) testing is a critical step in assessing behavior in an isolated environment prior to field deployment. Digital real-time simulation (DRTS), which calculates dynamic grid behavior quickly enough to couple a digital model with physical hardware, can be applied to both controllers and devices. The paradigm enables rapid prototyping of new hardware and assessing the impacts of existing component reconfiguration. The prototyping process includes defining grid architecture of interest (e.g., a specific distribution system) and contingency events of interest (e.g., loss of a major generator or transmission line).

Resilience Laboratory

 

INL’s Resilient Control & Instrumentation Systems (ReCIS) research develops components, programs, systems, and individuals for any application that requires monitoring, control, and human interaction. ReCIS has a range of research facilities and test beds dedicated to sensors, control, and intelligent systems research. The laboratory offers a variety of test beds for control system research. These test beds can aid complex evaluation of control system designs for cyber security, advanced control, and operational verification and validation.

Human Factors, Controls and Statistics

 

INL’s Human Factors, Controls and Statistics Department is an international leader in applying scientific methods, techniques, and tools to address the performance and operational challenges of mission-critical industries. Its experts employ specialized methods and state-of-the-art data analysis and modeling tools to support diverse customers in mission-critical industries. Such support improves their decision-making, operational performance, evaluation of technology options, reliability of humans and systems, and reduction of error.

Supply Chain Optimization

Our team with expertise in operational research and systems modeling have conducted analyses on diverse topics, including biomass feedstock blending, transportation systems, and critical materials supply chain. We offer a wide range of solutions including optimal location of a processing unit within a supply chain network (e.g., biorefinery, depot, charging station), optimal blending of inputs to achieve desired specifications for outputs, and impact quantification of changing supply chain configurations. Various modeling approaches are utilized such as network flow optimization, stochastic analysis, agent-based modeling, process modeling, and system dynamics modeling. Optimization has been done at a national, regional, and local scale. These solutions have informed investment decisions and policy making.

Natural Phenomena Modeling

 

INL developed open-source software to optimize the safety and cost of seismic design for structures. Using a patented 3D seismic simulation methodology, realistic numerical models, state-of-the-art seismic risk calculation tools, and optimization algorithms, the software helps engineers and critical infrastructure owners design earthquake-safe structures while reducing the total cost. Users include the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, which operates nearly 180 hydroelectric and irrigation dams in the Western United States.

Complex Engineering Systems

Systems Engineering is a holistic engineering discipline that provides systems analysis, systems integration, decision analysis, and systems science products and expertise to help government and private industry customers develop successful solutions to complex challenges. These interdisciplinary methodologies focus on defining and documenting customer needs and required functionality early in the development cycle, and then proceeding with design synthesis and system validation activities while considering the comprehensive problem. Systems Engineering considers both the business and the technical needs of all customers with the goal of providing a quality product that meets the user’s needs on time and within established budgets.

Visualization and Scientific Computing

High-Performance Computing

Through the deployment of high-performance computing systems, high-speed parallel data storage, high-speed network systems, and software consulting, INL enables science that matters. Modeling and simulation allows researchers to better understand materials, predict behavior of complex systems, and discover new technologies. Conforming with best practices in other industries, the energy industry relies on computer modeling and simulation to understand performance and optimize design characteristics of complex systems such as nuclear reactors. INL resources include a SGI supercomputer system named Falcon, that is capable of performing 511 trillion mathematical operations every second.

Geospatial Analysis and Visualization

 

INL’s geospatial capabilities include both software developers and geospatial analysts. Together they develop innovative, custom applications to meet data access, visualization, sharing, and analytical needs that consist of web-based, stand-alone, and enterprise-level systems. Analysts are working to enhance information visualization capabilities for making quick and effective decisions. By integrating data into visual displays, spatial and temporal relationships, patterns, and trends can be more easily identified . Experience spans data capture, processing and analysis associated with data collected from multiple satellite-based and airborne image and spectral collection systems.

Multiphysics Simulation Environment

INL’s Multiphysics Object Oriented Simulation Environment (MOOSE) makes modeling and simulation more accessible to a broad array of scientists. MOOSE enables simulation tools to be developed in a fraction of the time previously required. The tool has revolutionized predictive modeling because scientists seeking a new simulation capability don’t need to recruit a team of computational experts versed in, for example, parallel code development. Researchers can focus their efforts on the mathematical models for their field, and MOOSE does the rest. The simplicity has bred a herd of modeling applications describing phenomena in nuclear physics, geology, chemistry, engineering, and many more.

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